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Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
7667 Independence Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
(225) 925-7500


Public Assistance

For more information, our normal office hours are from 7:30 am to 4:00 PM weekdays.

Public assistance is that part of disaster relief through which the federal government supplements the efforts of state and local governments to return the disaster area to pre-disaster conditions. These efforts primarily address the repair and restoration of public facilities, infrastructure, or services which have been damaged or destroyed.

Public assistance is that part of disaster relief through which the federal government supplements the efforts of state and local governments to return the disaster area to pre-disaster conditions. These efforts primarily address the repair and restoration of public facilities, infrastructure, or services which have been damaged or destroyed.

There are two types of public assistance authorized: "emergency" and "permanent" work. Emergency work includes efforts to save lives, protect property, and maintain operation of essential facilities during the first six months following a disaster; however, extensions are available for all work if approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Permanent work involves actions necessary to repair, restore, reconstruct or replace public, and certain private non-profit facilities damaged or destroyed by the disaster for a period of 18 months.

"Public damages" can include any damage incurred by a structure or facility which is owned by a public or private non-profit entity. This could include roads, bridges, buildings, utilities, etc. Project applications for public sites may be approved to fund a variety of projects that fall within the following eligible categories:
  • Category A - Debris Clearance
    This category includes all storm induced debris on non-federal public roads, including the right-of-way, non-federal public waterways, other public property, and private property when undertaken by local government forces. It can also cover the cost of demolition of public structures if those structures were made unsafe by the disaster.
  • Category B - Emergency Protective Measures
    This category addresses the need to provide appropriate emergency measures designed to protect life, safety, property, and health (i.e., barricades, sand bags and safety personnel).
  • Category C - Road System
    This category addresses damages to non-federal roads, bridges, streets, culverts, and traffic control devices.
  • Category D - Water Control Facilities
    Eligible damages under this category include costs to repair or replace dikes, dams, drainage channels, irrigation works, and levees.
  • Category E - Building and Equipment
    Eligible damages under this category include costs to repair public buildings and equipment, supplies/inventories that were damaged and transportation systems such as public transit systems.
  • Category F - Public Utility Systems
    Under this category, assistance is available for damaged water systems, landfills, sanitary sewerage systems, storm drainage systems, and light/power facilities.
  • Category G - Other
    The "other" category includes park and recreational facilities, or any other public facility damages that do not reasonably fit in one of the other six categories.
Method of Funding
Public Law 93-288, as amended, has streamlined the funding methods for Public Assistance projects. Currently, there are two types of grants (funding methods) available based on the cost of the project. Each grant is explained below:
  • Large Project Grant
    A Large Project Grant is approved when the total project cost to repair or replace eligible public damage is $53,000* or more before October 1, 2003 or $54,100 or more after October 1, 2003. The grants must be used to restore public or private nonprofit facilities to their pre-disaster condition. Funds are authorized based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Project Worksheets and paid on a cost reimbursement basis. These projects are monitored and subject to a final inspection before the final project is made.
  • Small Project Grant
    A Small Project Grant is approved when the total project cost to repair or replace eligible public damage is less than $53,000* prior to October 1, 2003 or less than $54,100 after October 1, 2003. The Project Worksheets for small projects provide funds based on estimated costs. The Federal (Federal Emergency Management Agency) share of approved small projects are paid to the applicant as soon as the Federal Funds are obligated to the state. The state share is paid upon completion of the projects

Funding Options
The following funding options can be used by applicants if they feel it will benefit their situation. They are designed to give the applicant a greater degree of flexibility. Both options can be used under large or small project grants, and are voluntary.

  • Alternate Projects
    If a community receives a large or small grant, and it determines that the public welfare would not be best served by repairing, restoring, reconstructing, or replacing a damaged facility, an "alternate project" may be requested. Under the "alternate project" option, the amount of the original damage estimate would be reduced by 10 percent and approved for use on other public facilities; constructing new facilities; or funding hazard mitigation activities. Funds necessary for completing the alternate project that exceed the federal share would come from local sources.
  • Improved Projects
    When the applicant decides to exceed the original design and value of a damaged facility instead of simply restoring it to its pre-disaster condition, the "improved projects" option can be approved. The applicant will be responsible for all funding that exceeds the approved estimate of eligible cost to complete the scope of work.
 
 Related Information
Disaster Recovery Index
Public Assistance Administrative Plan 04-05  MSWordIcon
Public Assistance Applicant's Handbook 
FEMA Public Assistance Manual
Public Assistance Forms Index
Grant Links Index
Writing & Developing A Grant Proposal
Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Phone Numbers

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