Developing a Rebuilding Plan

ID 145724096 © Susan Sheldon |


As discussed in Disaster Recovery Today #4000, it is important not only for Subrecipients to control the inspection environment, but to also be a part of all discussions and decisions regarding their own overall recovery process. Remember, FEMA is not in the design/build business. They are there to lend assistance, but ultimately the fnal disposition of a project belongs to you.

FEMA’s Changing Role

The Public Assistance (PA) Program is based on a partnership of FEMA, state and local ofcials. The roles and responsibilities of these entities are being more clearly defned and responsibilities more fexibly based on the capabilities of state and local partners. In FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, a common theme is that disasters are federally supported, state managed and locally executed. FEMA realized that the PA Program had not evolved to meet the changing needs of its customers during the last 20 years. One of the shortfalls included using a one-size-fts-all approach to process projects, regardless of the project’s size or cost.

Following an in-depth review and analysis of how FEMA administered the PA Program, which averages $4.7 billion in assistance each year, the need for signifcant changes in the way FEMA implements the Public Assistance Program was clear. As a result, FEMA developed a new business model for PA Program delivery based on a lean management principle and is implementing those changes. The delivery model has three basic elements, which support a simplifed and streamlined grant application process:

Previous to the new delivery model, FEMA developed and funded every Project Worksheet (PW) using the same process regardless of project size, complexity or risk. The PW template in use then was primarily free‐form felds which allowed and even encouraged varying interpretations at every touch point through the entire project development and funding process. Additionally, Project Specialists, who developed PWs, were assigned projects without regard to their relevant skills and/or abilities to develop the projects.

The following changes have been incorporated under the new delivery model construct:

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