Assistance deadline approaching for houses of worship, area nonprofits

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021

LAPLACE — Religious leaders whose houses of worship in a disaster-designated parish were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ida can apply for FEMA’s Public Assistance program, as many continue to contribute to their communities’ recovery despite their own losses.
Houses of worship interested in receiving reimbursement for repair costs must first submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) through the state of Louisiana at gohsep.la.gov/GRANTS/OVERVIEW.
The deadline to apply is Dec. 28.
Houses of worship owned or operated by a private nonprofit must be in a disaster-designated parish, have sustained damage from Hurricane Ida, provide a non-critical but essential service, and be open to the public. Building uses that meet the eligibility requirements include community gatherings, national youth group meetings, lectures and other social activities intended to serve a specific group of individuals, so long as the facility is otherwise available to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.
Nonprofits that typically provide critical services are hospitals and other medical treatment facilities, utilities, private schools that provide elementary or secondary education, and institutions of higher education.