AEMA, FEMA Grants Help Alabama Rebuild Infrastructure

Release Date: May 26, 2011
Release Number: 1971-065

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Helping the people of Alabama recover is the primary focus of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following April’s historic tornado outbreak.

From FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, which helps provide housing and money for various losses and expenses not covered by insurance, to Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans for individuals and families, to the many forms of help available through voluntary agencies, recovery begins with helping survivors rebuild their lives.

But in addition to the many state and federal assistance programs available to help people recover, FEMA offers financial help to municipal, county and state entities – and some private nonprofit organizations – through its Public Assistance (PA) grant program.

“A disaster on the scale of the one we’re dealing with in Alabama leaves many local communities in need of assistance beyond what they receive through insurance and other sources,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne. “FEMA’s Public Assistance program allows the state to help bridge that gap so communities can meet the task of rebuilding head-on.”

The PA program, which is funded by FEMA and administered by AEMA, provides millions of dollars to reimburse applicants for two key expenses in the wake of a disaster: emergency work and permanent work.

Emergency work Initially, PA helps communities pay for emergency expenses incurred in the hours, days and even weeks following the disaster. This includes the costs for debris removal and other emergency expenses such as search and rescue, increased security and overtime pay for employees. Generally, actions taken by a community to warn or protect residents, reduce damage or ensure the continuation of essential public services are eligible for PA funding.

Permanent work As the days and weeks pass, the focus shifts to helping applicants pay for the repair, restoration or replacement of damaged or destroyed public infrastructure. Permanent work eligible for PA funding can include repairing or replacing hospitals, courthouses, fire stations, schools, roads, bridges, utilities, water control facilities, and public parks and recreational facilities.

Who is eligible for Public Assistance?
Eligible PA applicants generally include local and state governments – as well as Native American tribal governments – but some private nonprofits may also qualify for assistance.

Repair or replacement of private nonprofit facilities may be eligible for PA reimbursement if they provide essential services to the public, such as education, utilities and emergency, medical or custodial care. However, these organizations must meet additional eligibility requirements beyond those that apply to governmental applicants.

Applicants may apply for assistance through the state’s Public Assistance website, Upon approval, FEMA issues PA grants directly to the state, which reimburses applicants.

Building back safer and stronger
PA also ties in with another FEMA program called Hazard Mitigation, which is designed to help communities avoid or minimize similar future losses by rebuilding safer, stronger and more resilient during the recovery process. Retrofitting or other steps taken to protect against future damage might be included in PA-funded work if the applicant can demonstrate a favorable cost-benefit ratio.

These long-term measures are calculated to reduce the chance of recurring costs to taxpayers. They also allow essential public facilities to better withstand damage during future severe weather and to continue functioning. Mitigation funding is available throughout the state of Alabama. To learn how you can apply for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, call the State Mitigation Line at 205-280-2476.

Applicants within all 67 Alabama counties are eligible for PA funding for debris and emergency protective measures as well as hazard mitigation funding. Additionally, applicants located in the following 31 counties are eligible for PA-funded permanent work: Bibb; Blount; Calhoun; Cherokee; Choctaw; Colbert; Cullman; DeKalb; Elmore; Etowah; Fayette; Franklin; Hale; Jackson; Jefferson; Lamar; Lauderdale; Lawrence; Limestone; Madison; Marengo; Marion; Marshall; Morgan; St. Clair; Sumter; Talladega; Tallapoosa; Tuscaloosa; Walker; and Winston.

Visit, or for more information on Public Assistance including eligibility requirements, roles and responsibilities and the overall process.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.


For more information on Alabama’s disaster recovery, visit or

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Last Modified: Thursday, 26-May-2011 18:02:10