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FEMA Extends Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering Assistance

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

  • FEMA

FEMA has extended funding for Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering during the COVID-19 public health emergency until Nov. 30, 2021, as the agency continues to help protect people during hurricane and wildfire season. Under this policy, FEMA reimburses state, tribal and territorial governments for the partial cost of providing non-congregate sheltering for people who must evacuate during a disaster.

Typically, displaced disaster survivors are sheltered in facilities with large open spaces, such as schools, churches, community centers or similar facilities, rather than in non-congregate environments, which are locations where each individual or household has living space that offers some level of privacy such as hotels, motels or dormitories.

We have made significant progress over the past six months in our fight against COVID. To date, 164 million Americans are fully vaccinated, including 80% of seniors and more than 60% of all adults. But the Delta variant is different. It’s more contagious, with the variant spreading more than twice as easily from one person to another.

FEMA recognizes sheltering operations during the COVID-19 public health emergency may require states, tribes and territories to consider additional strategies to ensure survivors are sheltered in a manner that does not increase the risk of exposure to or further transmit COVID-19. After a Stafford Act declaration, states, tribes and territories may be eligible for reimbursement of costs associated with non-congregate sheltering.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA established a policy that allowed state, local, tribal and territorial governments to apply for reimbursement of costs associated with non-congregate sheltering of disaster survivors under FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Originally scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2020, the policy was extended until Jul. 31, 2021. Due to the continuing need to protect public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA has further extended this policy until Nov. 30, 2021.

Although the end of the pandemic is in sight as more citizens receive the vaccine, FEMA has extended the policy once again to ensure that survivors unable to return home can be safely sheltered after a disaster. Anyone interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should visit to find a location close to them and make an appointment. Individuals can also text their zip code to 438829 to receive a text with the closest COVID-19 vaccine location.

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Disaster Legal Response Resources for Advocates

The National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center welcomes all advocates and volunteers from nonprofit legal aid organizations, bar associations, pro bono counsel from law firms and corporations, law school students and faculty, and allied nonprofits working on disaster legal aid.

The Advocacy Center includes information disaster response initiatives, upcoming events for advocates, developments from the field, and access to a network of over 600 advocates across the country. It is free to join, but some areas are password-protected. The Advocacy Center is maintained by Lone Star Legal Aid, a legal service provider in Texas. 

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