Guidance on Navigating Federal Assistance After Irma

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Jessica Unger | Miami, FL

For institutions within Miami-Dade County, the Department of Cultural Affairs is coordinating the response and recovery of the community.  They are working with the Office of Emergency Management, the Beacon Council and the FIU Small Business Development Center and several other partners on representing your needs through the Recovery Support Function Economic.  If your institutions was impacted by Hurricane Irma please fill out their damage assessment form at:


Also as part of the Heritage Response Team training we have been sponsoring focused on fundraising for cultural institutions after a disaster.  The American Institute for Conservation has graciously made this available to all of our partners.  You can view it at:


Art and cultural institutions are eligible for several types of Federal assistance, this includes:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans
  • National Endowment of the Humanities Emergency Grants


If your institutions is affiliated with a government agency like Miami-Dade County or Florida International University you should be communicating with them your damage and any expenditures (overtime of personnel, purchases, etc) to protect your facilities.  The information below doesn’t necessary apply to your institutions since your expenditures will be included as part of your government agency.  If you are private non-profit organization unaffiliated with any government agency you can apply for either FEMA Public Assistance or SBA disaster loans.


Definition of Private Non-Profit Organization (PNP)

FEMA defines a PNP as either having the following:

  • A current ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service granting tax exemption under sections 501(c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code of
  • Documentation from the State substantiating it is a non-revenue producing, nonprofit entity organized or doing business under State law.


FEMA Public Assistance

Public Assistance (PA) is a grant program that reimburses eligible applicants for eligible work at eligible facilities at a reasonable cost.  The cost share of eligible cost is 75% Federal and 25% Non-Federal.  Eligible costs will be reduced by any insurance proceeds.


If your institution wishes to seek reimbursement through the FEMA’s Public Assistance Program please go to the following link ( and click on “APPLY NOW’ in the red Hurricane Irma Banner to submit your Request for Public Assistance (RPA).  Attached is a guide to navigate


Non-Critical PNPs must apply to the Small Business Administration for disaster assistance; if denied by SBA or if their costs exceed what SBA covers then the PNP should apply to FEMA PA.

Non-critical PNP are only eligible for Permanent Work which are:

  • Category C: Road Systems and Bridges (Page 116)
  • Category D: Water control facilities (Page 118)
  • Category E: Public buildings and contents (Page 119)
  • Category F: Public utilities (Page 124)
  • Category G: Parks, recreational and other items (Page 126)


The corresponding page number are where you can find additional guidance on eligible expenses for these different categories in the FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide which is available:


Applicant Briefing

The Applicant Briefing provides a high-level overview of the Public Assistance (PA) Program.  The topics it normally discussed includes:

  • Application procedures
  • Project funding
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Administrative requirements
  • Procurement requirements
  • Environmental and historic preservation (EHP) compliance requirements
  • General eligibility criteria
  • Documentation requirements
  • Recordkeeping


Schedule for Miami-Dade and Broward County:


Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program


There are several types of loan programs available they include:

Types of Loans Borrowers Purpose Maximum Amount
Business Loans “Physical” Businesses and private
Repair or replace real estate, equipment, furniture, etc. $2 million
Economic Injury Loans Small businesses & private
Economic injury disaster loans or working capital loans $2 million
Home Loans Homeowners & Renters Repair or replace real property $200,000
Home Loans Homeowners & Renters Repair or replace personal property $40,000
Mitigation Businesses, private
nonprofits and homeowners.
Mitigate / prevent future loss to real property 20% of verified physical damage. Homeowners limited to $200,000.


Businesses can apply online at or you can call 1‐800‐659‐2955


National Endowment or the Humanities Emergency Grants

These emergency grants go up to $30,000 and can be used to preserve documents, books, photographs, art works, historical objects, sculptures, and structures damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding.


You can apply for these grants at:

Tags: , , ,