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Federal Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Funding

Authored by Johanna Duffy | October 28, 2020

Available Now for Fiscal Year 2020!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently announced the availability of Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grants for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). These HMA grant programs focus on funding eligible mitigation actions that reduce and protect loss of life and injury, avoid and minimize property and infrastructure loss and damage, and reduce economic impacts and government disruptions. Such impacts can commonly result from the occurrence of natural hazard events. Taking steps to implement projects at a pre-disaster level reduces the amount of federal funding that may need to be allocated as a result of future disasters. The application period for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant program is now open. For those familiar with FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grants, that program has been replaced by the BRIC program through the Disaster Relief and Recovery Act of 2018, which amends Section 203 of the Stafford Act.

The FMA and BRIC are competitive grant programs that deliver funding to states, local municipalities, tribes, and territories to assist with eligible mitigation activities that allow communities to be better prepared for future disaster events.

There is $500 million available in BRIC funding. More favorable projects include those that demonstrate innovative approaches to design, funding mechanisms, and/or partnerships. Through this program, FEMA renews its commitment to fund pre-disaster mitigation actions with a target on infrastructure projects and improvements to community lifelines, which are vital to health, safety and/or economic security. BRIC funds may be used for capability and capacity building activities, mitigation projects, and/or management costs. Existing project types that were covered under the PDM Grant program continue to be eligible for funding under BRIC. To be eligible to receive funds proposed projects must meet the following:

  • Be cost-effective;

  • Reduce or eliminate risk and damage from future natural hazards;

  • Meet either of the two latest International Building Codes (i.e., 2015 or 2018);

  • Align with the applicable hazard mitigation plan; and

  • Meet all environmental and historic preservation requirements.

There is $160 million available in funding for the FMA program. This program focuses on reducing or eliminating the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Community eligibility to apply for these funds starts with participation in the NFIP. Up to $4 million will be allocated to Project Scoping initiatives which focus on developing community-wide or individual flood mitigation projects with the goal of reducing flood claims, and up to $70 million will be provided to Community Flood Mitigation Projects that look to address flood risk on a community level, also with the goal of reducing flood claims and payments through the NFIP. Remaining funds will be used to cover the following:

  • Technical Assistance – used to continue to maintain a previously eligible FMA program; eligible applicants must have received a FY19 FMA award if at least a $1 million federal share.

  • Flood Hazard Mitigation Planning – focused on sub-applications for flood hazard elements of County-wide and tribal mitigation plans and plan updates.

  • Individual Flood Mitigation Projects – actions that would mitigate flood risk to individual structures insured under the NFIP.

The FY20 application period opened on September 30th for both grant programs. Eligible applicants should use the FEMA Grants Outcome (FEMA GO) to submit their applications. Applications must be submitted through the FEMA GO portal by January 21, 2021, at 3:00 PM eastern standard time. Notification of selected projects is anticipated in summer 2021.

It is important to keep in mind that HMA Grant Program funds are distributed on a competitive basis to eligible applicants. A notable requirement to obtain funds is that applicants must have a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan in place by the application deadline. Allocated funds are available to cover up to 75% of the eligible activity costs for funded projects and actions. The remaining activity costs would need to be covered from non-federal sources.

To be successful, the submission of strong and well-supported mitigation activities is key. There are a variety of technical resources, impact models, cost-benefit analyses, etc. that can be helpful in completing an application. The Barton & Loguidice team is ready to work with you to strengthen and create eligible project opportunities that focus on long-term preparedness and protection for your community. B&L is knowledgeable about these funding opportunities and can be reached for more information on the funding guidelines, program changes for fiscal year 2020, and to provide application assistance and support.


This article is from members of the Environmental Practice Area.

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