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After a disaster, MEMA works with local, state, and federal partners to identify assistance programs that may be available. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Program reimburses government agencies and non-profits for eligible disaster related costs.
FEMA’s PA Grant Program reimburses state, local, and tribal government and certain types of private non-profit organizations (applicants) who had disaster related damages. Disaster related damages include debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities and the facilities of some Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. The PA Program also encourages protection of damaged buildings from future events through post disaster hazard mitigation grants.
Reimbursements are typically 75% of eligible costs, with the remaining 25% cost being the applicant’s responsibility.
After a disaster event that causes significant damage, MEMA works with FEMA, local, and state agencies to begin the Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program process.
When a federal Disaster Declaration is granted, other things take place as part of the program:
Eligibility: FEMA makes final determinations about eligibility as it relates to applicants, facilities, work and costs.
Applicant Eligibility: The Public Assistance program provides cost reimbursement aid to local governments (state, local, municipal authorities, and school districts) and certain private non-profit agencies.
Facility Eligibility: Generally, buildings, equipment and certain natural sites owned by a public or private non-profit entity are considered eligible.
Work Eligibility: BASIC CRITERIA - Must be required as a result of the Presidentially-declared Major Disaster or Emergency Declaration, be located within the designated disaster area, be the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant, and no other federal agency may provide funding.
DEBRIS REMOVAL - When in the public interest to eliminate an immediate threat to life, public health and safety; OR eliminate an immediate threat of significant damage to improved property; OR to ensure the economic recovery of the affected community.
EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE MEASURES - Measures taken to save lives, protect public health and safety, and to protect improved property. Must eliminate or lessen the threat.
PERMANENT RESTORATION - Restore the disaster-damaged parts of the facility to pre-disaster condition and function, plus upgrade restored parts to meet current codes and standards. Road systems, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, public utility systems, and parks / recreation facilities are the general categories of property eligible. In certain circumstances FEMA may replace a facility if cost of repair is more than 50% of replacement cost.
Cost Eligibility: FORCE ACCOUNT - (Applicant's own labor, equipment, and materials) - Equipment use at FEMA use rates, materials at applicant's cost, labor at applicant's cost including fringe benefits. The cost of regular time labor of permanent employees performing debris removal and emergency protective measures is not eligible.
CONTRACT – Costs for contractors to provide reasonable and necessary labor may be reimbursed. All contracting and procurement laws must be followed. Contracting is the responsibility of the applicant.
Active DeclarationsThere are no active disaster declarations at this time.
Previous DisastersFor information on historical declared disasters in Massachusetts, see FEMA Disaster Declarations.
FEMA has developed a new Public Assistance grant administration process in order to encourage transparency, consistency, and accountability. This new delivery model introduced new roles and processes, including:
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Recovery Unit is committed to educating and training all potential applicants on this new process and the Grants Portal. FEMA’s New Public Assistance Delivery Model became mandatory for all disasters declared on or after September 13, 2017.
FEMA's Public Assistance: Policy and Guidance includes Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG) for disasters declared after January 1, 2016 as well as 9500 series guidance for disasters declared before January 1, 2016.
2 CFR 200
Guidance for Snow Debris Operations - February 2013
FEMA 329 Debris Estimating Field Guide
Memorandum of Understanding for Contaminated Debris Management
How to Fill Out the MEMA State Contact Package (YouTube Video)