Cost Share Considerations for FEMA Public Assistance Grants

There are many grant programs available through federal agencies to support disaster response and recovery activities. On March 13, 2020 when President Trump declared a nationwide emergency pursuant to Sec. 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, he directed FEMA “to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments and other eligible entities with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public” and activated the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) program. The reimbursable activities were limited to Category B, emergency protective measures, and include costs related to the activation of State Emergency Operations Centers, National Guard missions, law enforcement and other measures necessary to protect public health and safety, as well as emergency purchase and distribution of food and non-congregate sheltering. Reimbursements for these expenses will be provided at a 75 percent federal cost share; the remaining 25 percent of costs must be covered by the state and/or its localities.

Update: In an email to governors’ offices on May 19, the White House announced that states may use Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars, provided under the CARES Act, to pay for FEMA’s 25 percent cost share requirements under the Stafford Act.

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