CSAC Bulletin Article

Cal OES Hosts Public Assistance Trainings for Local Governments

April 2, 2020

This morning, the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) hosted the first in a series of daily webinars to train local governments on how to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance. The webinar specifically focused on federal procurement under FEMA’s  grant standards, which is a requirement of receiving FEMA Public Assistance to help pay for the cost of responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides supplemental grants to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and certain types of private non-profits, so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. During the training representatives from Cal OES review FEMA requirements that local governments must meet in order to receive Public Assistance. This includes discussing types of contracts, how to properly document expenses, and reliable resources for troubleshooting. Two particularly useful guides they highlight are FEMA’s Procurement Disaster Assistance Team Field Manual, which serves as a fairly comprehensive guide to the procurement process, and a list of the Top 10 Procurement under Grant Mistakes.

An area which many counties have had questions about, and which is changing rapidly, is non-congregate sheltering (NCS). In typical emergencies FEMA does not allow reimbursements for single occupancy or single family shelters. Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA has been granted the ability to approve requests for NCS, however, current approval in California only applies to state-run entities. Cal OES is working to expand this to apply to local bodies, but in the meantime encourage interested counties to formally request NCS. A template for these requests is being developed by Cal OES. Please send formal requests to PAProcurement@CalOES.ca.gov

The Public Assistance webinars will be hosted every day through Tuesday April 14, with a morning (10:00 AM-12:00 PM) and an afternoon session (3:00 PM-5:00 PM). No RSVP is required to join the presentation, simply click this link at the time of the session you’d like to join. If you have any questions on procurement, or if you would like to receive updates as they happen, send an email to PAProcurement@CalOES.ca.gov.

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