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Public Assistance Branch

The primary objectives of the Public Assistance Branch are to; provide customer service to political subdivisions of the State; manage and administer the State and federal Public Assistance programs, and to provide education and training regarding both the State and federal Public Assistance programs. 

Following a declared event, the Public Assistance Branch manages and administers the Governor's Emergency Fund to help reimburse political subdivisions of the State, and State agencies, for eligible disaster-related costs that are above and beyond their ability to recover without State (and/or federal) assistance. The Governor’s Emergency Fund is allocated $4 million dollars annually to assist in covering the costs of all Public Assistance eligible disasters declared in Arizona.

Arizona is one of a small handful of states that are “State Managed/State Led” when a federal Major Disaster Declaration is made in Arizona. The Public Assistance Branch provides the appropriate subject matter experts and staff to assist eligible local jurisdictions in developing eligible projects for reimbursement under the federal Public Assistance program.

The Public Assistance Branch is composed of full time staff, as well as Disaster Reservists, who are subject matter experts and are activated to assist with the Public Assistance program. The programs are highly complex and technical, and the process can take years before final reimbursement is made and the disasters can be “closed out.”

Disasters begin and end at the local level. As a political subdivision, knowing what is required and how the various programs operate, prior to an event happening, is vital. The Public Assistance Branch works closely with the Mitigation Branch and the Recovery Branch during State and federally declared events. When requested, DEMA/EM will provide a “Recovery Road Show” to interested parties in order to explain the three branches, their associated programs, and what can be expected after an event occurs. Requests for a Recovery Road Show can be made through your County Emergency Manager  or email [email protected].