An Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia

VEOC Activation Status: ORANGE, Partial Support in Response to COVID-19

VEOC Activation Status: Orange

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Public Assistance


Public Assistance (PA) is FEMA’s largest grant program providing funds to assist communities responding to and recovering from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President. The program provides funding for emergency assistance to save lives and protect property, and assists with funding for permanently restoring community infrastructure affected by a federally declared incident.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include states, federally recognized tribal governments (including Alaska Native villages and organizations so long as they are not privately owned), U.S. territories, local governments, and certain private non-profit (PNP) organizations. PNPs must have “an effective ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, granting tax exemption under sections 501(c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or satisfactory evidence from the State that the nonrevenue producing organization or entity is a nonprofit one organized or doing business under State law.”

Additionally, for a PNP operated facility to be eligible, the PNP must demonstrate the facility provides a critical service or provides a non-critical, but essential government service and is open to the general public. A facility that provides a critical service is defined as one used for an educational, utility, emergency, or medical purpose.

Project Categories

FEMA processes PA grant funding according to the type of work the applicant undertakes. Eligible work must be required as a result of the declared incident, be located in the designated area, be the legal responsibility of the applicant, and be undertaken at a reasonable cost.

Eligible work is classified into the following categories:

Emergency Work

Category A: Debris removal

Category B: Emergency protective measures

Permanent Work

Category C: Roads and bridges

Category D: Water control facilities

Category E: Public buildings and contents

Category F: Public utilities

Category G: Parks, recreational, and other facilities

Federal funding guidelines for each of these categories are listed in the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide.


Application Process

After a federal declaration, the recipient (i.e. state, tribe, or territory) conducts Applicant Briefings to inform potential applicants (i.e. state, local, tribal, territorial, and PNP officials) of the assistance available and how to apply. Applicants must then file a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the date their respective area is designated by the federal declaration.

Following the approved request, FEMA and the applicants will conduct additional meetings to discuss disaster damage and project formulation. Applicants must identify and report damages to FEMA within the 60-day regulatory timeframe. FEMA, the recipient, or the applicant will then prepare project worksheets for eligible work and eligible facilities based on actual or estimated project costs.

Grant Opportunities

TitleOpen DateClose Date
2020-08-01 Hurricane IsaiasAugust 10, 2021August 7, 2020
FEMA-DR-4512-VA – Public Assistance – COVID-19March 1, 2020December 31, 2021