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Thursday, July 18, 2024

FEMA Announces Additional $160M to Build Climate and Disaster Resilience Nationwide

Yesterday’s announcement includes just a fraction of the projects that these funds will ultimately enable. FEMA plans to make final project selections using Fiscal Year 2022 funding at a later date, which will include larger and more complex projects for both programs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced $160 million in additional funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for states, local communities, tribes, territories and the District of Columbia to build climate and disaster resiliency, including the selection of more than 400 resilience projects and activities.

The May 19 announcement includes $136 million for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program and $24 million for the Flood Mitigation Assistance program. Both programs are part of the Justice40 Initiative, advancing President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice. In addition, $54 million of this funding is set-aside for Tribal Nations that applied.

The announcement comes as the Biden-Harris Administration celebrates Infrastructure Week and the 18-month anniversary of President Biden signing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law provides nearly $7 billion in funding to support FEMA’s resilience and mitigation programs. To date, over $370 million in awards have been announced from these two programs from the infrastructure law.

“From hurricanes in the east, to wildfires in the west, to tornadoes tearing through America’s heartland, every community faces some level of disaster risk. These frequent and intense events fueled by climate change demonstrate that mitigation funding continues to serve as one of our most powerful tools in reducing the impacts we’re seeing. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law further advances FEMA’s mission to build nationwide resilience through a nearly $7 billion investment across FEMA’s mitigation programs,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “We know these mitigation dollars will have the biggest impact at the local level, and that is why we are committed to delivering these funds to communities equitably and in a way that meets their unique needs.” 

During this grant cycle, each state and territory that applied for the set-aside funding were eligible for up to $2 million to support mitigation projects and planning, project scoping, and the adoption and enforcement of hazard resistant building codes. 

Historic Levels of Resilience Funding

The Biden-Harris Administration has approved historic funding levels for FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs. Combined funding for the BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs increased from $660 million to $1.16 billion during President Biden’s first year in office. In 2022, combined funding for these programs nearly tripled to more than $3 billion, including $900 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $6.8 billion to support the agency’s resilience and mitigation programs overall.

Yesterday’s announcement includes just a fraction of the projects that these funds will ultimately enable. FEMA plans to make final project selections using Fiscal Year 2022 funding at a later date, which will include larger and more complex projects for both programs. For BRIC, this will include selections made through a national funding competition. Flood Mitigation Assistance selections will include acquisitions, elevations and local flood risk reduction projects. 

BRIC Non-Financial Direct Technical Assistance Selections

For communities and Tribal Nations with limited resources, FEMA is also announcing 46 selections for BRIC non-financial Direct Technical Assistance. This assistance, for up to 36 months, helps local and tribal jurisdictions reduce disaster damage, build community resilience and sustain successful mitigation programs. FEMA reviews each submitted request and selects communities based on the compelling need, the specific request, and the extent to which the request demonstrates that the assistance will further BRIC’s goals to build community capability and resilience.

As the Direct Technical Assistance program enters its third year, this announcement brings the total number of entities benefiting from this hands-on support to 74 communities, territories, and tribes nationwide. This wide-ranging assistance includes support for climate risk assessments, community engagement, partnership building, hazard mitigation and climate adaptation planning.  

Summary of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding for FEMA Programs

In addition to the BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has provided funding for a number of FEMA programs that are taking decisive action to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen resilience nationwide, including in underserved and disadvantaged communities.

  • $185 million in State and Local Cybersecurity Grants to address threats to information systems. In total, the agency will make available $1 billion over four years to support strong cyber security practices for states, local communities, tribes and territories. To date, $176 million has been allocated through this program.
  • $733 million over five years is available for states and territories to enhance dam safety programs. In Fiscal Year 2022, FEMA awarded $15 million for the National Dam Safety Program to provide technical assistance, planning, design and construction grants for rehabilitating eligible high-hazard potential dams.
  • $60 million for the Swift Current Initiative, which provides funding to four states impacted by Hurricane Ida in 2021. These states – Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – were selected because they have the highest number of repetitively flood damaged, NFIP-insured unmitigated buildings and total claims (by count) within their respective regions. To date, more than $30 million has been allocated. 
  • $500 million for the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program over five years. This program provides capitalization grants to states, eligible federally recognized tribes, territories and the District of Columbia to establish revolving loan funds. These low-interest loans allow jurisdictions to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and foster greater community resilience. To date, $50 million has been announced.

Read more at FEMA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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