How to help group homes and agencies get PPE for their staff?

The Play

Secure funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for a congregate care, residential-treatment setting.

Who Can Do This

Nonprofit service providers, particularly, congregate care, residential treatment facilities.


Fully reimbursable. The grant funds can be used to repay nonprofits for expenses on PPE.


Moderate to High. This could be less difficult for agencies with a specialized grants manager, which may not be the case for some nonprofits. For nonprofits experiencing difficulty with this, other non-FEMA sources of funding at the local, county, state, or federal level can be explored.

The Problem It Solves

Congregate care, residential treatment facilities—commonly referred to as “group homes”—face heightened risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. In these settings, large groups of children and youth, some of whom may be medically vulnerable, are confined in small quarters with little to no opportunity to practice social distancing. In addition, these settings are administered by teams of personnel, which increases risks of transmission with each staff turnover.

How To Do This

1. Check your nonprofit’s eligibility.

You can do so by completing the FEMA private non-profit (PNP) Eligibility Questionnaire, the most recent version of which can be found here.

2. Access FEMA’s Public Assistance Grants Portal, which can be found here.

The Portal is the main hub for identifying available grants, submitting documents, and going through the full application and administration processes. Particularly, your nonprofit must submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) through the Portal; more detail about this is in the following step.

3. Review FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG).

The most recent version can be found here. In particular, please see:

  • Table 2 (page 46), which provides the eligible “Noncritical, Essential Social Services.” This table details the criteria for facilities and programs to be eligible for the FEMA Public Assistance Grant. It’s useful to be able to align your organization’s mission and work with the public assistance grants criteria, which will increase the likelihood of being awarded funds.

  • Pages 116-117 state that “personal protective equipment” (PPE) is classified under eligible Supplies and Commodities, which also includes “safety equipment” and other emergency supplies.

  • Table 4 (pages 47-48), details the “[Request for Public Assistance] Documentation and Information Requirements.” Check that your nonprofit can fulfill all the documentation and information requirements as this is a crucial first step in the application process:



All PNP Applicants

  • Ruling letter from the Internal Revenue Service that was in effect on the declaration date and granted tax exemption under sections 501(c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code; OR documentation from the State substantiating it is a non-revenue producing, nonprofit entity organized or doing business under State law. If exempt from both the requirement to apply for 501(c)(3) status and tax-exempt status under State law, the organization must provide articles of association, bylaws, or other documents indicating that it is an organized entity and a certification that it is compliant with Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and State law requirements. (required)

  • Proof of ownership OR lease or other proof of legal responsibility (required)

  • List of services provided, when, and to whom (required)

Child Care Facility

  • Proof that the State Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Human Services, or similar agency, recognizes it as a licensed childcare facility (required)

  • Pages 65-96, provides information on cost eligibility, including types and levels of federal funding. Understanding these details can allow your nonprofit to get quicker and maximized support.

    • In particular, pages 74-75 show the requirements to document supplies that have been purchased. Nonprofits must maintain records of:

      • Receipts or invoices

      • Quantity used

      • Justification for not using supplies if they’re not used

4. Partner with municipal, county, or state governments and officials to navigate and secure PPE.

This can include learning about the application and administration processes of these grants, seeking FEMA PA funds through those entities, or even to learn about external resources for PPE. This is especially important given the state-based and county-based dynamics of how these grants are administered. Examples include:

5. Contact your state’s FEMA Regional Office to make sure RPA documents (referenced above) and other reporting documents have been completed properly or if there are technical questions.

FEMA regional contacts can be found here.

6. Consider “Extended Use” and/or “Limited Reuse” protocols in order to get the most use from the PPE, while being risk-sensitive and not jeopardizing the health of workers or young people.

The CDC has guidance about these practices in healthcare settings that are useful in the context of congregate care settings as well.


Utilize federal support to allocate PPE. Ensure youth and personnel mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission.

Who’s Already Doing This?

Summit, New Jersey was successful in acquiring PPE for essential workers, including notably personnel in an affordable housing complex.