FEMA Flooded with Recovery Assistance Requests in Minnesota

As Minnesota rebuilds after spring floods, more than $5,367,000 is being processed for payment through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program to eligible applicants in 28 counties to reimburse the costs of approved projects, the agency announced.

Through the PA program, FEMA provides disaster assistance grants for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities such as roads, bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, utilities, and parks and recreational facilities. Certain private organizations may be eligible as well. The PA program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.

"FEMA is committed to helping Minnesota in their recovery," Federal Coordinating Officer Michael H. Smith said. To date, more than 634 requests made by jurisdictions have been combined into 1,409 sub grant applications which are currently being processed. Other applicants are continuing work in order to process additional requests. The agency urged county and municipal officials to move quickly in supplying documentation for PA reimbursement.

Permits must be secured before delivery of any funds from FEMA through the state, the agency noted. If all paperwork is correct, it normally takes no more than two weeks from the time a project worksheet is submitted to FEMA to obligate money to the state. It takes another three weeks to put the funds in the hands of the applicant. Eligible applicants will receive 75 percent of their allowable costs for their projects, the agency said, cautioning applicants to make their paperwork as accurate as possible because everything is subject to state and federal audit.

"Delays happen when copies of contracts, insurance validation, receipts, or invoices are missing," said Smith, Federal Coordinating Officer. "It's first come, first served, so it's in the best interest of the applicant to get the paperwork organized as quickly as possible."

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