Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic – FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program for State and Local Governments and Private Nonprofit (PNP) Organizations

The President declared a National Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, 2020.  Under the emergency declaration, FEMA is authorized to reimburse local governments for costs associated with “emergency protective measures” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency protective measures are defined in Category B of the Public Assistance Program of the Stafford Act.

Who can Participate in the PA Program? 



An applicant must be one of the following:

  • State government agencies.
  • Local governments and special districts – For example school districts, irrigation districts, fire districts and utility districts.
  • Private nonprofit organizations (PNPs). PNPs must own or operate facilities that are open to the general public and provide certain essential and critical services otherwise performed by a government agency.


The facility where emergency protective measures were performed must be:

  • The legal responsibility of an eligible Applicant and not under the specific authority of another Federal agency.
  • Located in the State of Hawaii.
  • In active use and open to the general public at the time of the disaster.


Updated information about eligible emergency protective measures can be found in the COVID-19 Pandemic Eligible Emergency Pandemic Measures Fact Sheet

View information on the COVID-19 Pandemic Safe Opening and Operation Work Eligible for Public Assistance Interim Policy

View information on the FEMA Funds Community Engagement for COVID-19 Vaccinations


Costs must be:

  • Reasonable and necessary to accomplish emergency protective measures.
  • Compliant with Federal, State, and local requirements for procurement.
  • Reduced by all applicable credits, such as insurance proceeds and salvage values.

Cost is reasonable if it is a cost that is both fair and equitable for the type of work being performed. FEMA will evaluate the applicant’s submitted documents to determine if the claimed costs are necessary and reasonable.

FEMA assistance will be provided at a 75 percent federal cost share. This is a cost reimbursement program. Applicants are required to pay for costs up front. The Recipient (State) administers grant reimbursement to eligible Applicants (Subrecipients).

What Projects/Activities are Funded Under the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic PA Grant?

Under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, FEMA may provide assistance for emergency protective measures including, but not limited to:

  • Management, control and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety:
    • Emergency Operations Center costs
    • Training specific to the declared event
    • Disinfection of eligible public facilities
    • Technical assistance to state, tribal, territorial or local governments on emergency management and control of immediate threats to public health and safety
  • Emergency medical care:
    • Non-deferrable medical treatment of infected persons in a shelter or temporary medical facility
    • Related medical facility services and supplies
    • Temporary medical facilities and/or enhanced medical/hospital capacity (for treatment when existing facilities are reasonably forecasted to become overloaded in the near term and cannot accommodate the patient load or to quarantine potentially infected persons)
    • Use of specialized medical equipment
    • Medical waste disposal
    • Emergency medical transport
  • Medical sheltering (e.g. when existing facilities are reasonably forecasted to become overloaded in the near future and cannot accommodate needs)
    • All sheltering must be conducted in accordance with standards and/or guidance approved by HHS/CDC and must be implemented in a manner that incorporates social distancing measures
    • Non-congregate medical sheltering is subject to prior approval by FEMA and is limited to that which is reasonable and necessary to address the public health needs of the event, is pursuant to the direction of appropriate public health officials and does not extend beyond the duration of the Public Health Emergency
  • Household pet sheltering and containment actions related to household pets in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine, and other consumable supplies, to include personal protective equipment and hazardous materials suits Movement of supplies and persons
  • Security and law enforcement
  • Communications of general health and safety information to the public
  • Search and rescue to locate and recover members of the population requiring assistance
  • Reimbursement for state, tribe, territory and/or local government force account overtime costs

Further information about eligible emergency protective measures can be found in the COVID-19 Pandemic Eligible Emergency Pandemic Measures Fact Sheet. For general PA Grant program information please refer to the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide, FP 104-009-2 (April 2018).   

DEADLINE:  The deadline to submit the Request for Public Assistance (RPA) for the COVID-19 is nationally extended and will remain open for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, as declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, unless an earlier deadline is deemed appropriate by the Assistant Administrator, Recovery Directorate.  Reference Memorandum from the Assistant Administrator of the Recovery Directorate, dated March 20, 2020


Grants Portal ( is an online platform that is used to apply, formulate and track grant award packages.

Applicants can use the Public Assistance Grants Portal to:

  • Register for and update an applicant profile
  • Submit a Request for Public Assistance
  • Upload project documentation

If you are a Government Organization requesting for Public Assistance for the first time, please confirm with your leadership how the different divisions and locations will apply (e.g. entire department or division applies as a group or each location applies individually). If your Government Organization has applied for Public Assistance previously, please use your existing login and password. Go to and click on the “Register Your Government Organization for Public Assistance” link. You will need your Employer Identification Number and DUNS number ( to register for the first time. Then answer the questions at each step to complete your Request for Public Assistance. Here’s a youtube video for a Government Organization using Grants Portal for Direct Application Account Creation (

If you are a Private Non Profit Organization requesting for Public Assistance for the first time, please email [email protected] to create a Grants Portal online account. If your Private Non Profit has applied for Public Assistance previously, please use your existing login and password. Brian Fisher is the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Disaster Assistance Project Manager responsible for creating Grants Portal accounts for Private Non Profits for the COVID19 pandemic. Be sure to include the following information in your email:

  • Applicant Name
  • County (Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai or Statewide)
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN tax #)
  • DUNS Number (
  • Org Type (Private Nonprofit with 501C3 Status)
  • Primary Contact/Alternate Contact (first name, last name, title, phone number, email address)
  • Physical/Mailing Address (please include city, state, and zip code)

Brian Fisher will contact you through email and/or phone to explain the other information and documents needed to complete the initial Request for Public Assistance from FEMA.

There are FEMA Grants Portal instructional videos on You Tube. Click on the link to go to the FEMA PA Grants Portal – Grants Manager Channel.


COVID-19 FEMA Applicant Briefing Template

Applicant Briefing from April 29, 2020

Donations Session from April 29, 2020

Question and Answer Session for Non-Medical Private Nonprofit Organizations from May 19, 2020

Question and Answer Session for Medical Government and Private Nonprofit Organizations from May 20, 2020


FEMA Public Assistance FAQ

  • I work in the tourist industry and was laid off because of COVID-19.  Am I eligible for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Grant?

No, PA Disaster Grants from FEMA are solely for State, Local Governments (e.g. Counties), and Private Nonprofit Organizations (PNP). These grants are not for private citizens but are for community organizations that have been affected by a disaster.

  • My nonprofit organization has a 501(c)(3) tax exemption and we provided assistance during COVID-19 by delivering meals to the elderly.  Are we eligible for FEMA grants? 

Many PNP organizations perform valuable services for the community, but not all PNPs are automatically eligible for public assistance grants. There are many factors that determine a PNP’s eligibility for Public Assistance, but the four basic categories are: the applicant itself, the facility, the work being performed, and the cost of the work. 

It is recommended that PNPs that believe they are eligible should apply.  Eligibility will be determined on a case by case basis.  

  • Do PNPs have to apply for, and be denied a small business loan before being eligible for PA?

No, this requirement is not needed as COVID-19 eligible activities are limited to Emergency Work, Category B, Emergency Protective Measures.

  • What Emergency Protective Measures (EPM) are eligible for PNPs?

For PNPs, eligible EPMs are generally limited to activities associated with preventing damage to an eligible facility and its contents. Emergency services are usually the responsibility of State, Territorial, Tribal, or local governments. Therefore, PNPs are generally not legally responsible for those services and ineligible for PA funding. When a PNP provides emergency services at the request of, and certified by the legally responsible government entity, FEMA provides PA funding through that government entity as the eligible Applicant. Costs related to patient evacuation, or when essential components of a facility are urgently needed to save lives or protect health & safety by PNPs owning medical or custodial care facilities are eligible 

  • How much money can I receive from a FEMA Disaster Grant?

As a reimbursement program, FEMA will usually provide funding at the applicable cost share (currently 75%) for eligible costs that have already been expended for emergency protective measures work (under Category B). Purchases will be evaluated for reasonableness. Procurement documentation must be provided to show that contract costs are reasonable. 

  • What is Grants Portal, and how do I upload documents into it?

Grants Portal is FEMA’s cloud-based program management software for receiving and processing public assistance grants. To upload documents, go to the document uploader tool and then add it to the correct level depending whether it is a general or project specific document.  

  • What documents will I need to provide or for reimbursement?

The FEMA PA process requires substantial documentation, and so good record keeping is of the upmost importance to receive funding and satisfy any potential audit compliance. FEMA requires general documents such as insurance, procurement and labor/union policies. In addition, FEMA will require project specific documents. As a rule of thumb please keep all timesheets, equipment logs,  invoices, receipts, bids, volunteer hours, procurement documentation and contracts related to your FEMA approved project. You will also be required to provide proof of payment for costs already completed, such as canceled checks and paystubs. Funding may be jeopardized if you are unable to prove/verify with documentation the amount being claimed and that payment was made in full.


Financial Management Guide

Environmental and Historic Preservation

Economic Recovery

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Public Assistance Simplified Application

Procurement During Exigent or Emergency Circumstances Fact Sheet (COVID 19)

  U.S. Small Business Administration in Response to COVID 19

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Summary of Key Provisions

Coronavirus Rumor Control


Questions: Please email [email protected]