FEMA expands disaster aid for houses of worship

Updated: Jan. 3, 2018 at 2:42 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (KFVS) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announcement has announced that houses of worship are eligible for FEMA Public Assistance program grants.

The grants provide funding for the repair, reconstruction or replacement of private nonprofit facilities.

"I'm glad to see FEMA do the right thing by ensuring houses of worship are eligible for disaster aid on the same terms as other non-profits," said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. "As we saw again last year, houses of worship serve a vital role during disasters, providing shelter, food, and other services for families who need it the most. However, it's important that we make this policy permanent law by including my legislation in any disaster supplemental funding considered by the Senate. In light of the Supreme Court's decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, it's clear that this is what the Constitution requires."

According to 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.

Houses of worship impacted by disasters declared on or after August 23, 2017 and for applications for assistance that were pending with FEMA as of August 23, 2017 are eligible for assistance, according to a news release from Blunt.

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