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Tornado Recovery Resources and Information

Public Assistance

For COVID National Declaration Guidance, visit this page,  https://www.tn.gov/tema/emergency-community/covid-19-guidance.html

The Public Assistance Program is a partnership of federal, state, and local officials.

The program, which is authorized by the Stafford Act, consists of grants from FEMA to assist state and local governments and certain Private Nonprofit (PNP) entities with the response to and recovery from disasters. TEMA administers the state portion of the program by implementing and monitoring grants awarded by FEMA.

Eligible projects include debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of infrastructure. The federal cost-share is typically 75 percent of eligible costs. The program also encourages protection from future damage by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.

When a major declaration is received, applicants apply for reimbursement of eligible costs expended from response and recovery operations.  Before making application, it is important to know what constitutes and eligible applicant.  The following provide such guidance.

> State, Territorial, and Indian Tribal Governments

> Local Governments

• Counties and parishes
• Municipalities, cities, towns, boroughs, and townships
• Local public authorities
• School districts
• Intrastate districts
• Councils of governments
• Regional and interstate government entities
• Agencies or instrumentalities of local governments
• State-recognized Tribes
• Special districts established under State Law

> Private Non-Profit Organizations

Only certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) Organizations are eligible Applicants.  To be an eligible PNP Applicant, the PNP must show that it meets the tax-exempt status and own or operate an eligible facility.  An eligible facility is one that provides an eligible service. 

     Tax-Exempt Status

  • A current 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
  • Documentation from the State substantiating it is a non-revenue producing, nonprofit entity organized or doing business under State law. 

     Eligible Services - click here for a chart of Critical, Non-Critical and Non-Eligible Services

  • A facility that provides a critical service, which is defined as education, utility, emergency, or medical; or
  • A facility that provides a non-critical, but essential social service AND provides those services to the general public. PNP facilities generally meet the requirement of serving the general public if ALL the following conditions are met:

     Eligible Facilities - Facility use is not limited to any of the following: 

  • A certain number of individuals;
  • A defined group of individuals who have a financial interest in the facility, such as a condominium association;
  • Certain classes of individuals; or
  • An unreasonably restrictive geographical area, such as a neighborhood within a community;

Facility access is not prohibited with gates or other security systems; and any membership fees meet all the following criteria:

  • Are nominal;
  • Are waived when an individual can show inability to pay the fee;
  • Are not of such magnitude to preclude use by a significant portion of the community; and
  • Do not exceed what is appropriate, based on other facilities used for similar services. 

Certain types of facilities, such as senior centers, that restrict access in a manner clearly related to the nature of the facility, are still considered to provide essential social services to the general public.

In cases where the facility provides multiple services, such as a community center, FEMA reviews additional items to determine the primary service that a facility provides, such as:

  • U.S. Internal Revenue Service documentation
  • Pre-disaster charter, bylaws, and amendments
  • Evidence of longstanding, routine (day-to-day) use (e.g., a calendar of activities)

Facilities established or primarily used for political, athletic, recreational, vocational, or academic training, conferences, or similar activities are not eligible.