On February 2, President Biden issued a memorandum directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase the federal cost share for COVID-19 Public Assistance funding from 75 percent to 100 percent. This memo builds on a previous memo issued by President Biden on January 21 and includes specific language making the increase to 100 percent retroactive to January 20, 2020. This includes eligible work under existing COVID-19 policies, such as increasing medical capacity, non-congregate sheltering and emergency food distribution. For projects that have already been approved, no further action will be required by applicants, as FEMA will amend existing awards to adjust the federal match upwards to 100 percent.
The action also allows FEMA to expand the activities that are eligible for 100 percent federal reimbursement for work conducted from January 21, 2021 through September 30, 2021. These would include costs associated with the safe reopening and operation of schools, child-care facilities, healthcare facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters and public transit systems, among others.
Increasing the federal cost share for FEMA COVID-19 funding has been a key priority of NACo’s since the beginning of the pandemic. In September 2020, NACo – along with our state and local association partners – sent a letter of support to U.S. House leadership urging swift passage of legislation that would have accomplished this same goal of increasing the federal share. Additionally, NACo worked to regain eligibility for personal protective equipment and disinfectants for public schools, transit systems and courthouses after they were removed as eligible activities as a result of a September change in FEMA guidance.
NACo applauds the swift action by the Biden administration to increase the federal cost share for FEMA COVID-19 Public Assistance funding, as it will allow counties to continue providing critical services to our residents during the ongoing global health crisis.