If eligibility is granted, churches will need to submit a list of sites damaged, “before and after” pictures, and any information about historic structures. FEMA and the state will then coordinate a Recovery Scoping Meeting to determine reimbursable damages.
What to Do Now
Familiarizing yourself with your options now can help alleviate stress and confusion when you actually need those options. To make that process smother after disaster hits, churches can also prepare in other ways: taking and recording all inventory, storing all policy information in a safe place, and keeping copies of policy numbers and contact information in locations that are easy to find and access.
I reached out to Marcus Coleman, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, for his take on how churches can best prepare now. He offered these four essential pieces of advice for building a culture of preparedness:
1. Get connected with your local first responders and emergency management agency. Local emergency managers can share information about potential risks for your area, including whether your church is in a flood zone. First responders can be helpful in helping you think through creating an emergency operations plan. You can also visit www.fema.gov/faith-resources to get started.
2. Document and insure your property. Not all insurance policies are the same. Coverage amounts, deductibles, and payment caps can vary significantly. Consult with your insurance professional to be sure your policy is right for you. We encourage everyone to document and insure your property. In this webinar recording, FEMA and the SBA discuss potential sources on financial assistance for non-profits and houses of worship, including an update on the recent FEMA policy change.