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Private Nonprofit Work Eligible for FEMA Reimbursement

Under the Stafford Act, eligible emergency protective measures taken by private nonprofits to respond to the COVID-19 emergency may be eligible for FEMA reimbursement. In this situation, reimbursement would fall under category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Please remember that this is at the direction or guidance of public health officials.

How does FEMA define “emergency work?”

Emergency work is work that is necessary to save lives or protect public health and safety. To be eligible, work must be the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant.

What is Category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program?

Category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is defined as “emergency protective measures.”

Measures to protect life, public health, and safety are generally the responsibility of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. In some cases, a government entity may be legally responsible to provide services. They may also be responsible for entering into an agreement with a private nonprofit to provide those services. An example would be sheltering or food distribution. In some cases, Public Assistance funding from FEMA is for the legally responsible government entity. They would then pay the private nonprofit for the cost of providing those services under the agreement.

What about the facilities of a private nonprofit?

In limited circumstances, essential components of a facility are urgently needed to save lives or protect health and safety.  An example would be an emergency room of a private nonprofit hospital. An example of eligible work would be providing emergency, medical, or custodial care services for which they are legally responsible. This is in response to the COVID-19 incident. In these cases, private nonprofits may be eligible for reimbursement of costs from FEMA as a Public Assistance applicant.

For private nonprofits, operating costs are generally not eligible even if the services are emergency services. An example of operating costs would be patient care and administrative activities. One exception would be if the private nonprofit performs an emergency service at the request of and certified by the legally responsible government entity. In these cases, FEMA provides Public Assistance funding through that government entity as the eligible applicant.

For additional questions on FEMA reimbursement for private nonprofits, please reach out to our emergency management team leader, Steve Stevens at sstevens@thf-cpa.com or our Not-for-Profit leader, Allison Harrell, at aharrell@thf-cpa.com.


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