Louisiana private nonprofits, including houses of worship and other faith-based organizations that may be eligible for FEMA help have until May 8 to apply for federal Public Assistance (PA) grants to help recover from damage suffered from the severe winter storms, including:
- Those that provide critical services, such as hospitals and other medical-treatment facilities, utilities, including water, sewer and electrical systems, private schools that provide elementary or secondary education, or institutions of higher education.
- Those that provide non-critical, essential services, such as senior citizen and community centers, food programs, educational-enrichment activities, custodial and daycare services, disability residential services, assisted living and low-income housing, homeless shelters and rehabilitation services, and performing and community arts centers.
- Houses of worship owned or operated by a private nonprofit. These must have sustained damage from the winter storms and must provide a non-critical but essential service and are open to the public. Examples include space for community gatherings, lectures and other social activities intended to serve a specific group of individuals provided the facility is otherwise available to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. They must provide proof of active and good standing with the state or U.S. Internal Revenue Service by a letter or other document establishing their tax-exempt status and pre-disaster articles of incorporation. They must also demonstrate that they own or have legal responsibility to operate out of the facility.
Houses of worship can learn more about applying for PA from their local or parish emergency management agency.
Nonprofits that provide services of a non-critical, essential governmental nature must first apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in order to be considered for PA grants.
SBA Disaster Loans are available:
- For businesses of any size and private nonprofits: up to $2 million for property damage.
- For small businesses, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofits: up to $2 million for working capital needs even if they had no property damage, with a $2 million maximum loan for any combination of property damage and working capital needs.
- For homeowners: up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence.
- For homeowners and renters: up to $40,000 to replace personal property, including vehicles.
Businesses and residents can apply online at www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. For questions and assistance completing an application, call 800-659-2955 or email FOCWAssistance@sba.gov.
Houses of worship should apply to FEMA’s PA program while they are awaiting a response from SBA by visiting louisianapa.com.
For more information about FEMA Public Assistance for houses of worship, visit Public Assistance- Private Nonprofit Houses Of Worship.