Federal Aid Benefits OK Communities

In nine Oklahoma counties hit hard by the May 10-13 storms and tornadoes, state and federal Individual Assistance grants and loans are helping eligible residents meet their urgent storm-related needs and get back into repaired homes.

On June 11, another element of disaster assistance was made available to the state, state agencies, local and tribal governments, and certain nonprofit organizations in 10 Oklahoma counties. It is a form of assistance that affects an entire community, although usually not in the immediate and direct way Individual Assistance programs do.

That form of aid is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program, and it is now available to eligible applicants in Alfalfa, Cleveland, Grant, Major, McIntosh, Noble, Okfuskee, Osage, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

The PA reimbursement program benefits everyone – neighborhoods, cities, tribal areas and states. PA dollars help clean up downed trees and other debris, repair the roads and bridges people use every day going to work and school, put power poles back in the ground, repair schools and emergency services and put playground equipment back in public parks. The funds benefit facilities and services used by the entire community.

"PA grants are obligated to government entities and nonprofits, but their intent is to ensure the roads, facilities and services people use every day are safe and functioning," said Federal Coordinating Office Gregory W. Eaton.

"We’re pleased that Public Assistance funds will be coming to Oklahoma to help relieve local communities of the enormous burden of paying to clean up and repair the storm damage," said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM).

Types of entities that may be eligible for Public Assistance include:
•   State government agencies;
•   Local governments;
•   Certain private nonprofit organizations, including rural electric cooperatives, and;
•   Federally recognized tribes.

FEMA Public Assistance funds are available to Oklahoma communities through a partnership of cost sharing. FEMA picks up 75 percent of the eligible cost of putting a community back on its feet, and the state and the applicant divide the remaining 25 percent.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, browse the features on this FEMA Web site at www.fema.gov/Oklahoma, visit the OEM site at www.oem.ok.gov or follow OEM on Twitter at http://twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.