Disaster Preparation & Recovery Toolkit

Catholic Extension is pleased to announce that our Disaster Preparation & Recovery Toolkit is now available for our dioceses.

  • Disaster Recovery Toolkit (click to access)
  • For additional cost tracking templates and instructions on use, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Why offer a Disaster Toolkit?

This toolkit was created by Catholic Extension’s disaster recovery partners at Hagerty Consulting, who are currently working with us to help Puerto Rican dioceses access federal funds to rebuild 1,000 churches damaged by Hurricane Maria.

Through our work with them, we have discovered that most dioceses do not realize that they are eligible for federal funding following major disasters, mainly due to the fact that policies have recently changed, giving greater opportunity to church organizations.

This toolkit exists to help your diocese better prepare for, respond to, and recover from major disasters and national emergencies.

These federal programs are complex and often lack clarity, which is why expert guidance is helpful in these very difficult situations.

How Does this Toolkit Relate to COVID-19?

It just so happens that our release of this disaster toolkit coincides with the new national emergency declaration for COVID-19, under which church organizations may be eligible for funding in the weeks and months ahead.

Hagerty has informed us that this latest Emergency Declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to utilize over $42 billion of disaster relief funding to support state and local governments, as well as private-nonprofit organizations such as Catholic hospitals, Catholic Charities, or Catholic dioceses as they combat COVID-19.

The federal cost share for approved activities would be a 75% reimbursement.

The precise scope of eligible “emergency protective measures” is not fully clear. Thus, our disaster partner is continuing to review and monitor this on our behalf as it evolves each day. However, some areas of COVID-19 funding eligibility we are closely monitoring are:

  • Churches that provide meals to low income households,
  • Churches or church institutions that provide any medical or healthcare support to their communities.

What can you do now?

  • Make prudent and reasonable decisions not reliant or contingent upon Federal Funding.
  • Should your diocese, its parishes, hospitals or agencies be called upon to respond to your local community’s needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Catholic Extension (mission@catholicextension.org), with two pieces of information:
    • What medical or humanitarian services your diocese is being called upon or envisioning to perform.
    • Your willingness to participate in a group training on how to utilize the toolkit.


High-Level Overview of Steps you will need to take for Funding

  1. Obtain written requests and/or certification of approval from local and/or state authorities for the care or other services related to the COVID-19 response. Being directly assigned by the legally responsible governmental authority will increase the likelihood for FEMA reimbursement.
  2. Encourage your State Officials to request a Major Disaster Declaration to enable additional federal resources to become available.
  3. File a Request for Public Assistance. A sample form is found linked here.
  4. Begin to track all associated disaster costs across your diocese and its agencies.

A good first step is developing incident related emergency codes (E-Codes) in your finance department / system. See the disaster recovery toolkit for more details on how to document. Tracking time includes all staff working on the disaster.

The toolkit contains templates to manage all types of costs to a disaster and some of these may not apply to your response / recovery. They include: