Emergency Responses

Temporary Relocation of Essential Services

Detailed Discussion

When buildings  that house essential community services, such as school classrooms,  police  and  fire department facilities, government offices, and certain private  nonprofit functions, such as critical  health facilities, are damaged extensively enough that they cannot be used until repairs are made, Temporary Relocation of the essential services may be necessary. Criticality of the service and safety of the facility are the factors used to determine the need for temporary relocation. The costs associated with temporary relocation are eligible but are subject to cost comparisons of alternate methods of providing facilities. Maintenance, utilities and operating costs of the temporary facility are not eligible.

The decision whether to rent or purchase space and equipment must be based on cost effectiveness. The length  of time that rental  or purchase costs are eligible will be based on the time estimated to complete repair work that will bring the damaged facility to pre-disaster design. Normally, the period of time for which temporary relocation assistance may be provided is 6 months, based on the regulatory time limitation for the completion of emergency work (44 CFR 206.204(c)). Extensions are possible if the applicant can document extenuating circumstances and the progress  required by FEMA policy (see Time Limits).

If the Applicant provides essential community services at a facility that is unsafe, inaccessible, or destroyed as a result of the incident, temporarily relocation of these services to another facility is eligible.196 Essential community services are those services of a governmental nature that are necessary to save lives, protect property and the public, and preserve the proper function and health of the community at large. These services differ from the list of eligible PNP essential social services.197 FEMA evaluates the criticality of the service and safety of the facility to determine the need for temporary relocation.

(a) Eligible for Temporary Relocation: State, Territorial, Tribal, and Local Government Applicants

Essential community services provided by a State, Territorial, Tribal, or local government Applicant are eligible to be relocated. Services provided by these Applicants that are eligible for temporary relocation are:

• Police

• Fire protection

• Emergency services

• Medical care

• Education

• Election and polling

• Library

• Utility

• Other essential community services

Services provided in administrative and support facilities essential to the provision of the essential community service are also eligible for relocation.

If the Applicant provides the service at a leased, private facility prior to the incident, the service is still eligible to be relocated.

(b) Eligible for Temporary Relocation: PNPs

Certain essential community services provided by PNPs are eligible to be relocated, provided the PNP owns and operates the facility in which the services are provided. These services differ from the list of eligible PNP essential social services.198 PNP services eligible for temporary relocation include:

• Alcohol and drug rehabilitation

• Child care

• Custodial care

• Fire protection and emergency services

• Education

• Homeless shelters

• Libraries

196 Stafford Act § 403(a)(3)(D), 42 U.S.C 5170b.

197 Stafford Act § 102(11)(B), 42 U.S.C. 5122, and 44 CFR § 206.221(e)(7).

• Medical care

• Utilities

• Other facilities that provide public health and safety services of a governmental nature

Services provided in support facilities, such as administration buildings and hospital laundry facilities, essential to the operation of such facilities may also be eligible for relocation.

(c) Ineligible for Temporary Relocation

Facilities that do not provide essential community services are ineligible for temporary relocation. These include facilities such as museums, zoos, community centers, shelter workshops, performing arts centers, recreation and parking facilities, athletic stadiums, research and warehouse facilities, and student union buildings.199

(d) Determining Eligibility for Temporary Relocation

FEMA determines the eligibility of relocating services to another facility based on the safety of the damaged facility as follows:

• If the facility can be made usable with the performance of emergency protective measures or minor repairs, a temporary facility may not be eligible.

• If the damage is to the extent that it cannot be occupied safely and restoration cannot be completed without suspending operations of the facility for an unacceptable period of time, then a temporary facility may be eligible.

• If the facility is not damaged but lacks a critical utility or operational item, such as potable water, electricity, or road access, and a temporary facility will restore services to the community before the restoration of the disrupted critical utility or operational item at the current site, then a temporary facility may be eligible.

The capacity of the temporary facility must not exceed the pre-disaster capacity of the facility that housed the displaced services. The Applicant must use the temporary facility to provide the eligible service to the same extent and manner as was provided prior to the incident.

Relocation to a site that requires ground disturbance or alteration of an existing property requires EHP review before the Applicant implements the action.

FEMA does not require the Applicant to obtain and maintain insurance for temporary facilities.

If the Applicant has a facility that does not meet eligibility requirements for temporary relocation and the facility’s damage is to such an extent that the contents are at risk, FEMA may provide PA funding for temporary space to store the contents as an emergency protective measure if the space is:

• Limited to an area necessary to house the contents;

• Used solely for storage; and

• Not intended for public access, alternate office space, exhibits, or other purposes. FEMA is not responsible for damage that may occur to contents in temporary storage.

(e) Lease, Purchase, or Construct

The Applicant may lease, purchase, or construct a temporary facility. The Applicant needs to make the decision to rent or purchase space and equipment based on the most cost-effective and practical option. The Applicant must provide FEMA with a cost analysis,200 which should include at least three proposals with cost estimates based on the timeline to restore the original facility. Cost estimates for leasing a facility must account for the entire timeline of the project.

FEMA does not mandate that the Applicant pursue a specific option for a temporary facility, but FEMA only provides PA funding for the most cost-effective option.

If the Applicant relocates a service from a facility it owns, the lease costs of a temporary facility are eligible provided that leasing is the most cost-effective option. If the Applicant was leasing the damaged facility and had to temporarily relocate to another leased facility, the increase in rent is eligible.

Purchasing or constructing a temporary facility is eligible if FEMA confirms that it is the most cost-effective option. With the exception of modular or manufactured units, the Applicant must obtain FEMA approval prior to purchasing or constructing the facility.

(f) Safe Rooms for Temporary School Facilities

Funding for accessible safe rooms as part of a temporary school facility may be eligible if the damaged school contained a safe room or other space that served as a storm shelter and there are no other cost-effective, reasonable alternatives available to address the safety needs of the students and faculty. If approved, the safe room capacity is based on student population and the number of faculty who are expected to use the temporary school facility. The capacity of the safe room cannot exceed the pre-disaster capacity of the safe room in the damaged school. The safe room should be available no later than the opening day of classes at the temporary facility.

If the Applicant wishes to seek funding for a safe room as part of a temporary school facility, it needs to submit a written request and obtain prior approval from FEMA. The request needs to include:

• A description of the safe room or safe space that was used as a storm shelter prior to the incident;

• The population of students and faculty that need access to the safe room;

• Verification that no other cost-effective reasonable alternatives are within proximity that can be used as a safe space for the school population; and

• An indication that the Applicant will have the safe room installed and operational when school resumes and students occupy the temporary classroom space.

Safe rooms provided as part of a temporary school facility must comply with the requirements of Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes, Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms (FEMA P-361).201

The timeframe for providing PA funding for the temporary safe room space coincides with the approved timeframe for providing PA funding for the temporary school facility.

(g) Temporary Relocation Costs

Eligible work or costs associated with the provision of temporary facilities include, but are not limited to:

• Rental or purchase of equipment necessary to continue the services in the temporary facility

• Reasonable alterations of the temporary facility, if required to make the space functional based on the pre-disaster use of the damaged facility

• Restoration of the temporary facility to its pre-disaster condition when no longer needed

• Moving expenses to and from the temporary facility

• Minimal life-safety or other building upgrades required by an applicable code or standard in effect at the time the temporary facility is purchased or leased

• Public outreach and messaging costs necessary to inform the public that the service will temporarily be provided at a different location

FEMA does not provide PA funding for utility, maintenance, or operating costs in a temporary facility, even if these costs increase.

(h) Time Limitations

The regulatory time limitation for temporary facilities (Emergency Work) is 6 months from the declaration date.202

Depending on the extent of damage to the facility, the Applicant may be unable to restore the facility to its pre-disaster design and function within 6 months. Normally, the Recipient has the authority to extend the deadline for Emergency Work for up to 6 additional months.203 However, for temporary facilities, FEMA must approve any extensions to the project deadline.

FEMA considers the timeframe necessary to restore the damaged facility when evaluating time extensions for temporary facilities. If the Applicant requests funding for a temporary facility and knows at that time that the restoration of the original facility will exceed 6 months, FEMA may approve additional time and funding up to 12 months. If the Applicant needs additional time beyond this 12-month deadline, it must submit a written time extension request that includes the status of work and a timeline for completion.

FEMA only grants additional time if the Applicant begins construction on the damaged facility within 12 months of the declaration date, unless circumstances beyond the control of the Applicant prevented the start of construction within this 12-month timeframe.

(i) Disposition Requirements

If the Applicant purchased or constructed a temporary facility, it must return to FEMA the Federal share of the equity in the facility. The Applicant must report the equity to FEMA when the approved deadline has expired or when the facility is no longer needed for the authorized purpose, whichever occurs first.

If FEMA only funded a portion of the cost of the facility, the Applicant must return to FEMA the Federal share of FEMA’s proportionate equity in the facility. The amount due FEMA is

computed by applying FEMA’s percentage of participation in the cost of the purchase or construction to the fair market value or sale proceeds, taking into consideration reasonable out- of-pocket costs related to the sale.

The Applicant may either retain the facility or sell it. If the Applicant disposes of real property (land or structures) acquired with PA funding and acquires replacement real property using funds from the same PA project, the net proceeds of the sale may be used to offset the cost of the replacement property.

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