FEMA changes for Churches

FEMA EXPANDS PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

ELIGIBILITY TO INCLUDE HOUSE OF WORSHIP

FEMA today announced that private nonprofit houses of worship are

eligible for disaster assistance as community centers without regard to

their secular or religious nature. These changes are effective for disasters declared on or after August 23, 2017 and for applications for assistance

that were pending with FEMA as of August 23, 2017, including applications

on first- or second-level appeal, that as of today have not yet been

resolved by FEMA.

Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance

Act (Stafford Act), FEMA provides financial assistance, through its Public Assistance Program, to certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations for the repair or replacement of facilities damaged or destroyed by a major disaster. FEMA's changes now make houses of worship owned or operated by PNP organizations eligible applicants for this financial assistance (1) if their

facilities suffered damage from an event declared a major disaster on

or after August 23, 2017, or (2) if they had applications pending with FEMA

as of August 23, 2017 that, as of today, have not yet been resolved by FEMA.

As with other non-critical PNPs under the Stafford Act, FEMA financial assistance for the repair or replacement of a PNP house of worship facility

is limited to costs that a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration

(SBA) will not cover. PNP houses of worship must apply to the SBA for

a loan, as required by the Stafford Act. FEMA will provide financial

assistance if the PNP house of worship is denied a loan or if the loan

authorized is insufficient to cover repair costs.

This change will be reflected in the third edition of the Public Assistance Program Policy Guide, which will be available online.

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FREE MOBILE APP TO HELP DEVELOP YOUR SAFETY

AND SECURITY PLAN

The Department of Justice National Institute of Justice (in partnership with DHS and subject matter experts from the faith community and law enforcement) have created a free mobile app that will help local law enforcement work with leaders of houses of worship to evaluate their facilities and create plans for preventing attacks and prepare for other catastrophic events. Access this FREE app, for public safety officials, faith leaders and community influencers.