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QuikLINK for Wednesday, Janaury 3, 2018, No. 18003

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Issue:  18003
January 3, 2018

Here are several resources we were made aware of for your congregations to use in regards to financial support after a natural disaster and to help you develop a safety and security plan for your churches.

We will be sure to pass along any additional resources as they become available.

Shawn Gilgore
Director of Communication Ministry

FEMA today announced that private nonprofit houses of worship are eligible for disaster assistance as community centers without regard to their secular or religious nature. These changes are effective for disasters declared on or after August 23, 2017 and for applications for assistance that were pending with FEMA as of August 23, 2017, including applications on first- or second-level appeal, that as of today have not yet been resolved by FEMA.

Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), FEMA provides financial assistance, through its Public Assistance Program, to certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations for the repair or replacement of facilities damaged or destroyed by a major disaster.  FEMA's changes now make houses of worship owned or operated by PNP organizations eligible applicants for this financial assistance (1) if their facilities suffered damage from an event declared a major disaster on or after August 23, 2017, or (2) if they had applications pending with FEMA as of August 23, 2017 that, as of today, have not yet been resolved by FEMA.

As with other non-critical PNPs under the Stafford Act, FEMA financial assistance for the repair or replacement of a PNP house of worship facility is limited to costs that a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will not cover. PNP houses of worship must apply to the SBA for a loan, as required by the Stafford Act.  FEMA will provide financial assistance if the PNP house of worship is denied a loan or if the loan authorized is insufficient to cover repair costs.

This change will be reflected in the third edition of the Public Assistance Program Policy Guide, which will be available online.

The Department of Justice National Institute of Justice (in partnership with DHS and subject matter experts from the faith community and law enforcement) have created a free mobile app that will help local law enforcement work with leaders of houses of worship to evaluate their facilities and create plans for preventing attacks and prepare for other catastrophic events. Access this FREE app, for public safety officials, faith leaders and community influencers.