Although the pandemic is ongoing, the deadline for eligible applicants to submit an application for public assistance (RPA) for the COVID-19 pandemic disaster is fast approaching. This is the first step for eligible jurisdictions, agencies, and organizations to qualify for federal funding to continue to fight and respond to COVID-19.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given potential applicants until July 1, 2022 to submit RPAs for the COVID pandemic. The Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) supports state, local and tribal governments in participating in the program. These scholarships are NOT intended for the general public.
The RPA takes minutes to complete and contains information to help the state with the grant and reimbursement process.
To date, EMD has received more than 700 requests for public support nationwide. However, there is concern that there could be smaller jurisdictions that simply do not know they are entitled to reimbursements or potential grant funds. If these jurisdictions do not enroll in the grant system by July 1, they will not be reimbursed.
“We might have a sewer district or a port, a school or a library district out there, or even certain non-profit organizations that we could help,” said Jon Holmes, WA Infrastructure Branch Director for Public Assistance at the FEMA/State Joint Field Office in Lacey , WA. “We have supported local jurisdictions in providing funds for personal protective equipment, disinfection, cleaning and temporary changes to improve social distancing, such as. B. Perspex barriers to ensure safe opening/operation. But we have also provided much financial support for COVID-related medical treatment, pandemic emergency operations/coordination centers, isolation and quarantine facilities, and COVID-related shelters.”
Holmes says her office has already done a lot of public relations work. But he says it would be heartbreaking to turn down a small library that could have used the extra funds on July 2 because they missed the July 1 deadline.
After an application for public assistance has been made, those who qualify can submit grant and reimbursement applications. To date, jurisdictions have written more than 800 grant projects, collectively costing more than $2.3 billion. Holmes says not all projects have been funded yet.
Interested jurisdictions should follow the process outlined in this flyer (PDF).
The Public Assistance Grant is a government grant program aimed at providing disaster recovery assistance to state, local government, special districts and certain private non-profit organizations. The current disaster declaration for COVID-19 (4481-DR-WA) was declared on March 22, 2020 with an event period of January 20, 2020 and ongoing.
On March 1, the White House released a memorandum to maximize assistance in response to COVID-19. The memo notes that after July 1, FEMA intends to introduce a federal cost sharing of 90 percent, rather than flat-out reverting to the statutory minimum cost sharing of 75 percent of federal costs that applies to typical federal disaster declarations.