The CDP’s support of a local Joint Field Office will save FEMA more than a quarter of a million dollars by the time the JFO closes.
The JFO was established to support Public Assistance and Individual Assistance needs from the tornadoes in March in Calhoun, Cullman, Etowah and St. Clair counties.
As FEMA looked for a location to establish the JFO, the Noble Training Facility’s third floor became the most efficient and cost-effective option. FEMA is saving approximately $44,000 a month by housing the JFO at the CDP versus renting a building in the local area and then getting that temporary facility fully operational. JFO officials estimate the total savings from working out of the CDP will total about $262,000.
At the height of the disaster response, a total of 174 FEMA and Alabama Emergency Management Agency employees worked at the JFO. The JFO currently houses approximately 74 FEMA and AEMA employees.
The JFO’s efforts have been felt across the affected communities. Federal assistance for recovery from the March storms has topped $6.65 million.
That includes a recent FEMA grant in excess of $940,000 (federal share) to the State of Alabama to reimburse the City of Jacksonville for debris removal. With state and local contributions added, the grant will amount to more than $1.25 million.
The grant for the City of Jacksonville is the second to be awarded for the disaster through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. The first FEMA PA grant, of more than $755,000 (federal share), went to Jacksonville State University to reimburse the school for its debris removal efforts. The total of that grant amount is in excess of $1,000,000.
In addition to the City of Jacksonville and JSU, Alabama Emergency Management and FEMA Public Assistance personnel are working on developing projects with 22 applicants in the four counties.
Through early July, FEMA Individual Assistance grants to Alabama survivors in the designated counties totaled nearly $700,000.
Other efforts by the JFO include:
- More than 640 damaged properties have been inspected in Calhoun, Cullman and Etowah counties, the three counties designated as eligible for Individual Assistance.
- More than $511,000 has been approved for housing assistance, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.
- More than $185,200 has been approved to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
Additionally, more than $4.25 million in low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and private nonprofit organizations has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The JFO is currently slated to close in August.