Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I know there was a FEMA project with PW # XXX. Why isn’t it in the website?
  2. We just received a payment today, but the website doesn’t show it in the Project Details Report. Why not?
  3. Why is a project showing such a small obligated amount?
  4. How can the % Disbursed be more than the obligated amount? Aren’t the obligated amounts checked prior to cutting the check?
  5. How many infrastructure dollars have been invested through the Community Development Block Grant program?
  6. More than 1 project has the same PW number. Why?
  7. How can a project have a negative obligation amount?
  8. What does $0 disbursed mean?
  9. Does 100% disbursed mean that the project is 100% complete?
  10. How do I find the projects in my parish?
  11. Why isn’t the project description included for the FEMA projects?
  12. Why do so many FEMA projects contain Project Categories of ‘Not Assigned’?
  13. What is Obligated?
  14. What is difference between ‘Project’, ‘Grant’, ‘PW’, ‘PA’?
  15. What is a ‘Disbursement’?
  16. What is ‘Statewide’ parish?

1. I know there was a FEMA project with PW # XXX. Why isn’t it in the website?
Only ‘obligated’ projects with >$1 of current obligated funds are included. See ‘Data Details’, XXXX. Note: In addition to the other explanations, many Project Worksheets (PW’s) were created that were submitted to FEMA but were never processed to the point of being Obligated.

Return

2. We just received a payment today, but the website doesn’t show it in the Project Details Report. Why not?
The website is not linked to the live data for the programs. The website data is periodically reloaded from a snapshot of the data and only reflects actions prior to the date in the footer of the website.

Return

3. Why is a project showing such a small obligated amount?
See ‘Data Details’, FEMA De-Obligations. If the amount de-obligated didn’t quite match the original obligated amounts, small obligated values may remain for the project. If these projects remain inactive, they will be obligated at zero dollars prior to closeout. In many cases this reflects the project being pursued using insurance proceeds or an alternative funding source.

Return

4. How can the % Disbursed be more than the obligated amount? Aren’t the obligated amounts checked prior to cutting the check?
The obligated amounts are checked. There are several possible reasons. Here are a few:

Return

5. How many infrastructure dollars have been invested through the Community Development Block Grant program?
CDBG programs currently included in this website include the following infrastructure programs from Katrina and Rita: Long Term Community Recovery, Primary and Secondary Education, Local Government and Fisheries Assistance. There is a total of $1.07B allocated for these programs. Parishes continue to submit applications for projects under this funding.

Return

6. More than 1 project has the same PW number. Why?
PW numbering restarts with every disaster, so if the projects that you are looking at are all LAPA projects, it is because they are for different disasters.
If one of the projects is for a CDBG grant (project), it is because that project is affiliated with the PW. It may provide gap funding for expenses that didn’t qualify for FEMA funding or for some other reason. Note, the CDBG projects will rarely appear in the order of the FEMA PW's that they are affiliated with.

Return

7. How can a project have a negative obligation amount?
You can check the Project Detail Report for additional details. These projects are likely in transition and will appear differently in the future. In most cases this will be where a project was de-obligated. This could be that the project was cancelled by the applicant, disallowed by FEMA or the expenses were picked up under a different project worksheet (PW).

Return

8. What does $0 disbursed mean?
Literally, it means that the system did not find a ‘paid’ payment for the project.
Does it mean no work has been done on the project?
Possibly, but it is more likely one of the following:

Return

9. Does 100% disbursed mean that the project is 100% complete?
Not necessarily. This only means that all of the funds obligated to the project have been reimbursed to the applicant. There may be projects that incorporate outside funding sources in addition to FEMA and CDBG dollars.

Return

10. How do I find the projects in my parish?
Currently, the user can only search for applicants by parish, but for the vast majority of projects, the applicant is located in the same parish as the project. There are a few exceptions such as the New Orleans Airport, which is actually in Jefferson Parish, and there are some projects that cross parish lines such as the electrical co-ops or State Agencies.

Return

11. Why isn’t the project description included for the FEMA projects?
This data will be available for FEMA projects in the next few weeks. (Louisiana PA didn’t use this FEMA data element but is in the process of adding it so it will be available in the website.)

Return

12. Why do so many FEMA projects contain Project Categories of ‘Not Assigned’?
This is a new field for the FEMA projects. With approximately 20,000 projects, it will take a while to correctly assign the Project Categories.

Return

13. What is Obligated?
In the website, ‘Obligated’ means the respective agencies (FEMA HQ for LAPA and OCD/DRU for CDBG) have approved and committed these amounts for the project. Details for any changes in Obligated amounts are found on the Project Detail Report in the ‘Funding Sections’ table. (‘Versions’ contain the individual changes in funding amounts.)

Return

14. What is difference between ‘Project’, ‘Grant’, ‘PW’, ‘PA’?
Usually nothing. A Public Assistance (PA) grant application is usually referred to as a Project Worksheet (PW). These PW’s are simply approved grant applications under the FEMA Public Assistance program. These PW numbers are unique for each presidentially declared disaster, such as Katrina(DR-1603), Rita(DR-1607), Gustav(DR-1782), and Ike(DR-1792). CDBG projects are typically referred to as ‘Grants’ but within the website, they are referred to as ‘Projects’ for consistency.

Return

15. What is a ‘Disbursement’?
95% of the time, a disbursement is a payment made to the applicant to reimburse the applicant for work done on the project. If that were always the case, this column would have been called payments. For FEMA PA projects, particularly in the immediate aftermath of Katrina and Rita, some applicants were advanced a lump sum prior to formal project descriptions being received in order to allow the applicant to function; these disbursements are ‘Advances’, so it was decided that ‘Disbursements’ was a more appropriate term that would include ‘Advances’ without being inaccurate or misleading.
Special Notes:

Return

16. What is ‘Statewide’ parish?
‘Statewide’ can have one of two meanings; it can mean that the project cross parish lines, or that the jurisdiction of the applicant crosses parish lines. For example, we have multiple projects where the applicant is Facilities Planning and Control, which covers state buildings throughout Louisiana. Long term we will attempt to determine locations for all significant projects that are limited to one parish.

Return

Revised: 8/27/09