FEMA Publishes Emergency Sheltering Policy

FEMA published a new policy, “Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” This policy addresses the extraordinary challenges involved with operating a sheltering program during the pandemic, in a manner that limits the risk of exposure to or further transmission of the coronavirus.


FEMA recognizes sheltering operations during COVID-19 may require state, local, tribal and territorial partners to consider additional strategies to ensure that survivors are sheltered in a manner that does not increase COVID-19 risks. Typically, sheltering occurs in facilities with large open spaces, such as schools, churches, community centers or other similar facilities rather than in non-congregate environments, which are locations where each individual or household has living space that offers privacy such as hotels, motels or dormitories.


This policy outlines the framework and requirements for determining eligible work and costs for non-congregate sheltering operations in response to a presidentially declared emergency or major disaster for the Public Assistance Program or a Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration.


This policy is one aspect of a larger recovery strategy to support the safe sheltering of survivors in a COVID-19 environment. The intent is that state, local, tribal and territorial governments work with FEMA and other non-governmental partners to determine how non-congregate sheltering options may be incorporated into overall sheltering plans. To view the complete policy, visit the FEMA website.

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