Update on 7/1/20

United Methodist churches and Hope Centers are eligible to apply for Public Assistance (PA) money from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for expenses related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the potential costs that could be covered by FEMA’s PA program are those for:

  1. Cleaning services, equipment, and supplies.
  2. PPE (personal protective equipment).
  3. Food distributed to the community.
  4. Furnishings or property renovation made necessary by the pandemic (e.g., replacing pews with chairs or replacing large tables with smaller tables for social distancing).

Applications should consider the following:

  1. The applicant will need to prove that the costs are attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. The funding is for reimbursement only, so a church or Hope Center would have to spend money ahead of time, not knowing whether payment will occur.
  3. FEMA requires procurement procedures that involve getting bids or estimates from a wide range of potential contractors.
  4. The funding only covers 75 percent of project costs; however, the 25 percent match can be covered by “soft costs,” including staff and volunteer hours.

Churches or Hope Centers interested in pursuing FEMA PA funding should do the following:

  1. Contact their state Office of Emergency Management, requesting to be considered for FEMA PA funding.
    NJ:  http://ready.nj.gov/programs/public-assistance-program.shtml
    NY:  http://www.dhses.ny.gov/recovery/public/active-declarations.cfm
    PA:  https://www.pema.pa.gov/Recovery/Public-Assistance/Forms/Pages/COVID-19-Public-Assistance.aspx
  2. The state Office of Emergency Management will respond with instructions for registering at a FEMA grants portal.
  3. Follow instructions provided by the state Office of Emergency Management.

Rick Reinhard, Executive Director of A Future With Hope strongly suggests consulting with state Office of Emergency Management prior to launching a major project. “Several GNJ churches were successful gaining FEMA PA grants during Superstorm Sandy recovery,” Reinhard said.  “There is no reason why churches and Hope Centers should not be successful in pandemic recovery.”

Resources;  A guide describing FEMA PA grants has been authored by the accounting firm BDO Seidman. 

For more information contact: