Thanks to the leadership of our own, Rep. Grace Meng, and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the House passed the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013 with an overwhelming, bipartisan vote (354 – 72). We are grateful for their support that of the co-sponsors: Rep. Eliot L.Engel, Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Michael Grimm, Michael G., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Peter King, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., and to all in our delegation who voted for the measure.
The legislation clarifies the Stafford Act to allow FEMA to reimburse houses of worship for uninsured, disaster-related damages at the same rate as other non-critical nonprofits, “without regard to the religious character of the facility or the primary religious use of the facility”.
As Avi Schick pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal Op-ed: “Nobody suggests that government should entirely rebuild sanctuaries or pay for the printing of prayer books. But if roofs are being repaired and other structural damage is being remediated, the religious nature of what might occur below shouldn’t matter.”
As of February 1, 2013, 86 churches and synagogues had individually registered with FEMA and requested Public Assistance. In addition, 125 damaged Catholic churches are included in two applications. Daily, we hear about churches, mosques and synagogues that have not even applied, under the impression that they are not eligible.
The application deadline is February 27th in the New York area. Applicants can download the forms below:
Nonprofit RPA Submission Date Extended to:
- January 28, 2013 February 27th (Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond and Suffolk Counties);
- March 2, 2013 (Rockland and Westchester Counties);
- March 13, 2013 (Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster Counties);
- February 16, 2013 (Greene County)
SBA Physical Damage Loans
The notice of the President’s major disaster declaration for the State of NEW YORK, dated 10/30/2012 is hereby amended to extend the deadline for filing applications for physical damages as a result of this disaster to January 28, 2013.
Some are confused about the kinds of grants and loans available to nonprofits. If you have any specific questions feel free to contact David Pollock (212.983.4800 x132) or Marcia Eisenberg (212.983.4800 x137) both can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a sample of the questions coming to us:
- Is my nonprofit eligible for a FEMA Public Assistance grant?
- What if my organization provided a range of services out of the damaged building?
- What do the grants cover?
- Our staff stopped their regular duties and devoted most of their time to relief and recovery efforts. Will FEMA reimburse us?
- Is there a deadline?
- We’ve done our paperwork, filed our insurance and FEMA claims, but we need money now. What should we do?
- We need long term loans. What should we do?
- Is there a deadline for SBA loan applications?
- We haven’t heard from our insurance carrier or FEMA. We don’t know if we’ll need a loan. What should we do?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES NYC NONPROFIT RECOVERY LOAN PROGRAM FOR NONPROFITS IMPACTED BY HURRICANE SANDY
Loan Program will provide at least $26 Million of Interest-Free Loans to Help Nonprofits Rebuild
Pro-Bono Lawyers Will Provide Legal Service to Impacted Nonprofits
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced several efforts to support New York City’s nonprofit organizations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Building on a strong commitment to support and strengthen the nonprofit sector, the initiatives include the NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program, a $26 million bridge loan program, pro-bono legal assistance dedicated to nonprofits, briefings regarding federal reimbursements and filing procedures, updated nonprofit assistance information on NYC.gov and support for nonprofits at the NYC Restoration Centers. The NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program is supported by funders including the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Ford Foundation, Capital One Bank, the Robin Hood Foundation and The New York Community Trust. It will be administered by the Fund for the City of New York. The program will provide interest-free loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 to New York City nonprofits impacted by Hurricane Sandy and will cover losses associated with the disruption of operations and property damage. Priority will be given to organizations that have suffered the most severe losses and/or are operating in the worst affected areas, and will be made against expected claims to be filed with the nonprofit’s own insurance company and with FEMA, as well as against committed government, foundation and corporate contracts and grants. Continue Reading
In the context of Sandy related damage, FEMA provides supplemental funding (after insurance payments are exhausted) for the repair and restoration of infrastructure and facilities to pre-disaster condition.
Nonprofit entities that can qualify for such financial aid include hospitals, nursing homes, community centers, day care centers, libraries, museums and senior centers located in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties.
(Several years ago, in the wake of a natural disaster that damaged the Jewish day school in Seattle, the Orthodox Union worked successfully with the Bush Administration and allies in Congress to amend the laws and regulations which govern FEMA to clearly include non-public — including parochial — schools in the class of entities eligible for FEMA reconstruction funds.)
Immediately in the wake of the storm, the OU’s Washington Office initiated discussions with senior officials at the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (under which FEMA operates) to establish the eligibility of houses of worship — including synagogues — damaged by Sandy for FEMA reconstruction funds. We are making progress, but the discussions are ongoing.
In order for synagogues to preserve their ability to potentially receive reconstruction aid, applicants must complete a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the declared event (it has been amended to December 13, 2012).
Therefore, if your shul has sustained damage due to Hurricane Sandy, we urge you to file the forms included in the Request for Public Assistance package.
The disaster number is: FEMA-4085-DR-NY.
In the lower section of the Request for Public Assistance form: you should:
- Check the box “Yes” that your synagogue is a private non-profit organization, and
- Describe your organization on the next line as “community center and library” as well as any other descriptors listed in the lower section of the form if you provide such services in your synagogue (i.e., day care center, homeless shelter, senior citizens center).
- Only describe your synagogue as a “school” if your school is an accredited elementary or secondary school (K-12).
The forms and the supporting documents listed at the bottom of the form should be sent to:
New York State Office of Emergency Management
1220 Washington Avenue
Building 22, Suite 101
Albany, NY 12226-2251