Public Assistance

Public Assistance

What is Public Assistance?

The Public Assistance (PA) Program provides grants to state, territorial, local, and federally recognized tribal governments and certain private non-profit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from disasters. Specifically, the program provides assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent repair, restoration, reconstruction or replacement of eligible of public facilities and infrastructure damaged or destroyed in a disaster. PA program is a reimbursement program that reimburses funds used for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of infrastructure.

Overseen by two state coordinators, the state of Texas’s PA program is administered by five section administrators and a countless number of grant coordinators that are distributed throughout the regions they serve.

Eligible applicants include: state, territorial, local, and federally recognized tribal governments, any other political subdivision of the state, and certain private non-profit (PNP) organizations.

PNP organizations, facilities and services must meet additional requirements beyond those that apply to governmental applicants.

Eligible PNPs include educational, utility, emergency, medical, temporary or permanent custodial care facilities (including those for the aged and disabled), irrigation, museums, zoos, community centers, libraries, homeless shelters, senior citizen centers, rehabilitation facilities, shelter workshops and health and safety services and other PNP facilities that provide essential services of a governmental nature to the general public and critical service providers.

PNPs that provides “critical services” (power, water including water provided by an irrigation organization or facility sewer, wastewater treatment, communications, education, and emergency medical, fire protection and emergency services) may apply directly to FEMA for emergency assistance (Emergency Work) under 44 CFR §206.225. Eligible PNPs seeking reimbursement from FEMA for permanent repairs and restoration (Permanent Work) apply for disaster assistance according to requirements, depending on whether their facility is deemed to provide “critical” or “non-critical” services by the Stafford Act.

All other PNPs must first apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for a disaster loan. If SBA loans are declined or do not cover all eligible damages, applicants may re-apply for FEMA assistance.

PA Timeline for Small and Large Projects

  • Preliminary damage assessment
  • Presidential disaster declaration
  • Applicant briefing
  • Submission of Request for Public Assistance
  • Recovery Scoping Meeting/Completion of Project Worksheets (PWs)
  • Processing of Project Worksheets
  • Project worksheet approval by the state, the applicant, and FEMA
  • The obligation of funding by FEMA to the State
  • State-local Agreement must be in place before payment to the applicant can be made
  • Disbursement of funding from the State to the applicant

What is a State Administrative Plan?
The State Administrative Plan (SAP) identifies the roles and responsibilities of the State in administering the State Public Assistance Program and outlines staffing requirements, policies, and procedures.  In order to provide continuity to applicants involved in both federal and state disasters, the state will parallel federal regulations and policies wherever possible.

What is a Disaster State Administrative Plan?
The Disaster State Administrative Plan (DSAP) identifies the roles and responsibilities of the State in administering the State Public Assistance Program and outlines staffing requirements, policies, and procedures for a specific disaster.  In order to provide continuity to applicants involved in both federal and state disasters, the state will parallel federal regulations and policies wherever possible.

The intent of the PDA process is to depict the magnitude, impact, dollar damage, and the actions that are needed to deal with and recover from the event. These efforts primarily address the repair and restoration of public facilities, infrastructure, or services which have been damaged or destroyed. The PDA process is necessary to request federal assistance for the state and each affected county.  If damage assessment information is not received when needed, we are unable to include a county’s information in the initial assessment of needs for public facilities. PDA teams are federal representatives, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, who join with state, tribal, and local officials to form these teams.  The joint PDA teams are not just looking at the numbers of damaged or destroyed homes; they are also obtaining information on the impact on the community as a whole. In larger disasters or when affected areas are inaccessible, PDAs may be conducted by car or plane.

As soon as possible, all jurisdictional departments should begin gathering response costs and initial damage estimates. These figures need not be exact but are necessary to complete the Disaster Summary Outline (DSO). The DSO is the first snapshot TDEM receives regarding the extent of damages.  The DSO is used as a basis for obtaining a Presidential Disaster Declaration. DSOs will automatically be sent to the State Operations Center (SOC) through the form.

The DSO is located at https://olympus.soc.texas.gov/Services/DSO/

PA Grant Resource Tools:
GMS Access: https://grants.tdem.texas.gov/
Grants Portal:  https://grantee.fema.gov/

Non Debarred Vendor Assistance:
http://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM and https://comptroller.texas.gov/purchasing/programs/vendor-performance-tracking/debarred-vendors.php