This is an unprecedented time. And yet, communities and leaders are adapting to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic while still delivering services. How can your organization claim FEMA reimbursements for work done to mitigate this crisis? Here’s a quick overview of COVID-19 recovery opportunities and how Cityworks can support your response.

Cityworks has provided 3 Tips for Streamlining FEMA Reporting with Cityworks, which emphasizes the importance of documentation, incorporating the workflow into daily operations and annual emergency exercises, and visualizing the data through Cityworks eURLs in Esri tools such as Operations Dashboard. Applying these concepts to the COVID-19 pandemic and interagency response is vital.

In the last month, states have escalated from emergency declarations to major disaster declarations. The federal declaration opens the opportunity for FEMA’s public assistance (PA) grants, which reimburse up to 75 percent of costs associated with emergency work. Your organization is responsible for the other 25 percent. You can also request expedited funding to receive half of the estimated and eligible costs upfront.

FEMA defines emergency work as “work that must be performed to reduce or eliminate an immediate threat to life, protect public health and safety, and to protect improved property that is significantly threatened due to disasters or emergencies declared by the President.” Funding is limited to Category B emergency work, which could include overtime costs, distribution of food and other consumables, and emergency operation center (EOC) costs.

In addition to PA grants, other federal government funding sources include Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Small Business Administration, Housing and Urban Development, and the recent legislation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Regardless of which program you target, the key to successful funding requests is documenting work activities, costs, and explanations of why such actions were taken. The Cityworks core functionality supports compiling work activities and associated equipment, labor, and materials and rolling it up within Project Manager.

With the help of Cityworks and ArcGIS solutions for COVID-19, communities can use the platform to capture EOC and response operations. Whether you are using Cityworks AMS, Cityworks PLL, the Public Access portal, Storeroom, eURLs or Cityworks Analytics, each activity creates documentation that will support costs and actions.

For example, if you are in charge of testing sites, you can easily implement the work order and inspections templates to track observations and costs and then roll them up in Project Manager or analyze them in Dashboards and Cityworks Analytics. And don’t forget core Cityworks functionality such as attachments and labor rates (like overtime) that ease the documentation process while enabling location intelligence. Any relevant documents or directives from local public health officials would be critical to attach at the project or work activity level.

Thinking of other ways to deploy Cityworks for the COVID-19 response? What about managing distribution sites in your community and the associated costs? Or what about tracking and managing volunteers and donations? Our donation templates can assist in tracking donation requests and inventory, all while capturing costs and acknowledgement, which can help reduce the 25 percent non-federal cost share.

Once you’re accurately tracking all this data within a project, it’s easy to expand its use for citizen engagement. You can invite your residents to submit service requests and report on current activity through an ArcGIS Hub powered by Cityworks eURLs.

By combining people, business procedures, and technology, your organization can leverage valuable funding opportunities to support your community.


For more information on FEMA’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response, visit

Dinorah Sanchez is an asset management subject matter expert at Cityworks. She can be reached at

Lead image from iStock

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