Miss. Governments, Private Non-Profits Have Until Feb. 28 to Request Help

February 2, 2006

Although more than 800 eligible applicants have already requested assistance for recovery projects, it’s not too late for other government agencies and private non-profit organizations damaged by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi to apply, as they may still be eligible for federal or state financial assistance. The deadline for requesting Public Assistance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been extended to Feb. 28, 2006.

This additional time allows cities, counties, utilities, schools, hospitals, other government agencies and private non-profit organizations that provide important services to the community, the opportunity to apply for Public Assistance reimbursement grants.

“Public Assistance is an important program designed to help ensure critical services are restored and available in Mississippi communities,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the Mississippi disaster recovery.

Government agencies, special districts and private non-profits can apply for disaster assistance online at www.mississippipa.org . Applicants may obtain further information about the payment status of a project worksheet on the Web site as well.

The Public Assistance program awards federal disaster grants to eligible municipalities, government agencies and qualified private non-profits for the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain private non-profit organizations. The program provides assistance for debris removal, implementation of emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of infrastructure.

“This program has been an integral part in helping Mississippi recover from the storm,” said Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “We encourage government agencies and private non-profits affected by Katrina to apply for assistance that may be available to them.”

The Feb. 28 deadline for submitting requests for Public Assistance does not affect President Bush’s previous extension of 100 percent reimbursement for costs associated with debris removal and emergency protective measures, including those involving direct federal assistance, through March 15, 2006. F ederal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program will be authorized at 90 percent of total eligible costs beginning March 16, 2006. Federal funding for all other eligible Public Assistance projects remains at 90 percent. State and local governments share the remaining costs.

To date, FEMA has obligated more than $745 million in grants to Mississippi through the Public Assistance program. The state of Mississippi administers the program and allocates the money to the applicants.

For more information about FEMA assistance, visit www.fema.gov .

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