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FEMA Public Assistance Funding

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By: Jason Jantzi, Risk Management Consultant - Fire | | 503-559-0389

As the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent executive orders from Governor Kate Brown have impacted each of our lives, many of you have reached out to ask about funding assistance that may be available.  FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grants are available to special districts in all counties in the state of Oregon. The PA program provides federal financial assistance at a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction of guidance of state, local, tribal and territorial public health officials. The incident period is from January 20, 2020 and continuing. 

The federal share of assistance is not less than 75% of the eligible cost for emergency measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction of guidance of state, local, tribal and territorial public health officials.

How to Get Started 

Special districts may now go to the FEMA Grants Portal and begin the public assistance application process by registering with FEMA Grants Portal and submitting their Request for Public Assistance (RPA). Special districts must submit their own RPA application, to be considered for FEMA PA grants. 

The details:
Applicants can create their own accounts and submit RPAs directly in Grants Portal without working through the recipient/state. 

If your district prefers to submit a paper application, use this fillable paper Form 90-049 found on the FEMA website.  This one says that it expired in April 2013; I have confirmed that this is the correct form to use for the disaster.  

Once the Request for Public Assistance (RPA) is Received

  •  If your district self-registered into Grants Portal, once approved by FEMA, you will receive an email with your username and temporary password from Grants Portal.
  • If your district submitted an RPA to the State, the State will set up an account for your organization in FEMA’s Grants Portal using the RPA information provided. Your district’s primary contact/applicant authorized agent listed on the RPA will receive an invite email from Grants Portal (please check email junk folder) with a username and temporary password.
  • For the entities with existing Grants Portal profiles, you may submit your RPA through the system generated email.

Upon acceptance of the invite, applicants should update their profile in Grants Portal.  If you did not receive an invite, please contact the FEMA Grants Portal Hotline at (866) 337-8448 or

Further guidance and training for the Grants Portal.

Apply for FEMA Public Assistance 
Once you are approved to receive PA grants, you will need to submit your requests for eligible items through the Grants Portal.  OEM has been receiving inquires to see if loss of revenue is an eligible PA activity; unfortunately, loss of revenue is not eligible under FEMA Public Assistance.  Information about cost eligibility requirements can be found on page 21-42 of the FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide.  

The work you are requesting reimbursement for must be necessary as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency and cannot be funded by any other sources, like insurance, state grant funds, etc.  Your district must be able to provide documentation verifying that insurance coverage or any other source of funding, including private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, has been pursued or does not exist for the costs associated with emergency medical care and emergency medical evacuations. Currently, only the emergency protective measure groups in the Category B list are eligible for reimbursements.  

What is Category B?  These COVID-19 eligible areas, referred to as Category B, are emergency protective measures conducted before, during and after an incident that:

  1. Eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health, or safety; or
  2. Eliminate or lessen immediate threat of significant additional damage to improved public or private property in a cost-effective manner

Currently, the PA grants for Category B cover a percentage of the cost for eligible items.  Your district will be responsible for covering your smaller percentage portion of the cost.  Any donated resources should be carefully tracked and documented; they can be used to offset the non-federal share for public assistance funding. For file management and tracking of costs, FEMA has summary forms available.  You may use the FEMA summary forms or your own, as long as it captures the same information. 

Current policies and guidance

Delivery Process

Due to the size of the event and to maintain social distancing, it is not possible for FEMA or recipients (State) to proactively work with every applicant to develop their subgrant project worksheets, as would be the case in a traditional disaster. Applicants should be prepared to drive their own recovery through Grants Portal and adjust to the evolving delivery of the program. 

FEMA is working to rapidly scale up the information, tools and technology necessary to provide assistance to all applicants. Eligibility guidance on what FEMA can fund will be updated on the Public Assistance Policy, Guidance and Factsheets page and the COVID-19 page.  Application support and tutorials are available on the resource tab in PA Grants Portal upon your entity’s registration.

**Please register your local government at  or submit your RPA application by email to, and cc, or faxed to our office 503.373.7833**

For additional questions about PA grants, please see contact information below. Julie and Dan will be available for questions, but both FEMA and the State are in the process of hiring temporary/limited duration employees to help.  However, nothing is quick with the State when it comes to hiring and the recruitment has not posted yet.  It’s also important to remember that these employees will be new and need to be trained first.

Julie Slevin, State Public Assistance Officer
Dan Gwin, Deputy State Public Assistance Officer