FEMA has issued interim guidance for the framework, policy details and requirements for determining the eligibility of safe opening and operation work and eligible costs under the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Program.
This program, initially authorized in March 2020, was extended by President Joe Biden on January 21, 2021, to provide funding to PA applicants to cover work conducted from Jan. 21-Sept. 30, 2021.
Under the March 13, 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide emergency declaration and subsequent major disaster declarations for COVID-19, state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) government entities and certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations are eligible to apply for assistance under the FEMA PA Program.
This policy generally applies to safe opening and operation work conducted from Jan. 21 to Sept. 30, 2021. Assistance for eligible costs will be provided at 100% federal funding. In determining eligibility, FEMA will pay for measures used by local governments to protect life, public health and safety. Funds may also be provided to local governments to reimburse private and nonprofit organizations when necessary, to carry out eligible emergency protective measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Costs must be determined to be reasonable and necessary to respond to the pandemic, and applicants must document costs in sufficient detail for FEMA to evaluate their compliance with federal laws, rules and program requirements.
The Jan. 21 executive order also included an emphasis on emergency protective measures made eligible to support communities of color and other underserved populations that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As a condition of receiving PA funds, recipients and subrecipients must focus on the use of FEMA funding on the highest-risk communities and underserved populations and prioritize resources to ensure an equitable pandemic response.
PA applicants must demonstrate funds will be used to pay for measures implemented to facilitate the safe opening and operation of eligible facilities in response to the pandemic. Examples of eligible costs include assistance for face masks; PPE, cleaning and disinfection; COVID-19 testing; screening equipment; temporary barriers; and other supplies.
PA funding may be considered concurrently with other federal agency programs and sources. A list of federal funding for COVID-19 is available at: www.usa.gov/coronavirus. Federal programs may not be used to pay for the same work twice, and applicants must certify assistance is not being duplicated.
This story originally appeared in the May/June 2021 edition of Georgia’s Cities magazine.