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FEMA Public Assistance

In federally-declared disasters, FEMA provides grants to state, tribal and local governments, and some nonprofit organizations to help communities quickly respond and recover from major emergencies.

Federal money can be used to help pay for emergency protective measures, debris removal, emergency communications and emergency public transportation. Funds also may be used to help fix or replace public properties such as roads, bridges, buildings and parks that have been damaged or destroyed. In addition, FEMA may make limited loans to local governments that have had a very bad loss from their tax rolls and other revenues because of a disaster.

Public Assistance

Funds are paid through the FEMA Public Assistance Program which reimburses eligible groups for recovery costs. Typically, FEMA pays 75 percent of eligible costs, while local or state governments pay the balance. Trained grant managers help applicants through the repayment process.

The process begins with a preliminary damage assessment. Applicants must complete a Request for Public Assistance form and meet with a public assistance coordinator to help identify specific needs and costs for a project. These projects are submitted for approval as "project worksheets."

Learn more by reading the FEMA Frequently Asked Questions for Public Assistance.