Many mitigation actions require financial assistance—in particular, structural and critical infrastructure projects. Funding can take the form of grants and loans, but assistance can also be provided as technical assistance or in-kind contributions. Some projects may require a combination of your community’s financial resources, state and Federal grant programs, and non-governmental funding assistance.
Local Funding and Private Property Owners
You should first seek to identify any initiatives and activities that can be accomplished using existing operations and budgets. For example, small infrastructure projects such as storm water drainage improvements can likely be incorporated into your community’s recurring capital improvements program. Other projects may require a specific line-item request as part of the routine planning and budgeting cycle, or possibly require more creative public financing methods such as special purpose assessments, impact fees, or tax increment financing. Some actions may leverage a combination of funding sources with other local departments, particularly those that can result in multiple benefits for the community (for example, acquiring flood prone properties to be maintained as a public park or recreational area).
Private property owners share the responsibility to protect themselves and their property. Many federal mitigation grants for activities like acquisition or elevation require a minimum of 25 percent of the total project cost to be non-federal, and local communities often pass that cost on to the individual property owner.
State Funding and Assistance
State government funding for mitigation varies from state to state. Hazard Mitigation Assistance funds may be available following a federal disaster declaration, as described below, and some states use their own general funds for grant matching. Contact your SHMO to learn about available funds in your state. In addition, other state agencies, such as your state forestry department, geological survey, and water resources agency, may offer programs that fund projects related to specific hazards.
Get to know your SHMO, who is responsible for organizing, developing, and implementing the State’s hazard mitigation program as well as reviewing plans and projects submitted for approval by local communities. Your SHMO coordinates with other state agencies, FEMA and other federal agencies, local governments, and other public and private organizations regularly; monitors the completion of approved projects; and provides technical assistance and grant funding for approved activities and expenses. Your SHMO coordinates most FEMA funding to support mitigation plans and project implementation.
FEMA Mitigation Grant Programs
Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs
Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs provide funding opportunities for pre- and post-disaster mitigation. While the statutory origins of the programs differ, all share the common goal of reducing the risk of loss of life and property due to natural hazards. Brief descriptions of the Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs are provided below.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program assists in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following Presidential disaster declarations. Funding may be authorized after a declaration to implement projects in accordance with state, tribal, and local priorities.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation. FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and mitigation project implementation prior to a disaster. The goal of the program is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time also reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations.
Flood Mitigation Assistance. FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Program provides funds on an annual basis so that communities can take measures to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Hazard Mitigation Funding Under Public Assistance, Section 406
Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), 42 U.S.C. 5172, provides FEMA with the authority to fund cost-effective mitigation measures under the Public Assistance (PA) program in conjunction with the repair of disaster-damaged public facilities. These opportunities usually become apparent during the immediate repair phase following disaster events. It is critical that your community is aware and involved in the development of PA projects in close coordination with state and FEMA counterparts to help identify possible mitigation opportunities under the PA program.
The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Earthquake State Assistance Program was created to increase and enhance the effective implementation of earthquake risk reduction at the local level. Examples of mitigation activities funded through this program include: developing seismic mitigation plans; conducting seismic safety inspections of critical structures and lifelines; updating building codes, zoning codes, and ordinances to enhance seismic safety; or increasing earthquake awareness and education. More information on the availability of funding to assist with local activities supporting earthquake risk reduction can be obtained by contacting your SHMO or State Earthquake Program contact.
Emergency Management Performance Grants Program
The purpose of the Emergency Management Performance Grants Program is to provide grants to states to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in preparing for threats and hazards. The grants focuses on planning, operations, equipment acquisitions, training, exercises, and construction and renovation in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities. Your state emergency management agency is the only entity eligible to apply to FEMA for Emergency Management Performance Grant funds on behalf of state and local emergency management agencies, so your first point of coordination should be through your local emergency management office.
FEMA Technical Assistance
Many types of technical assistance are available from FEMA. Technical assistance may take the form of information resources; publications; training; templates, models, and samples; networking; or onsite workshops.
FEMA’s Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) program helps communities identify, assess, and reduce flood risk. Through Risk MAP, FEMA provides communities with flood risk data and information to enhance local mitigation plans, improve community outreach, and increase local resilience to floods. The products and guidance provided by Risk MAP can be used to help implement your local mitigation plan.
FEMA’s Building Science Branch provides technical services and produces mitigation guidance to create disaster-resilient communities. The Building Science Branch provides NFIP technical support for public and private sector stakeholders, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, and outreach strategies for communicating Building Science issues.
National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program
The National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program is designed to help state, tribal, and local governments obtain the knowledge, tools, and support needed to plan and implement effective earthquake mitigation strategies. FEMA provides the following types of assistance through the program:
- Training. Courses and associated materials, available for classroom presentation or independent study, related to a variety of seismic risk reduction activities and stakeholders.
- Technical assistance. Technical advice and shared expertise that help recipients design, develop, and implement earthquake mitigation projects.
- Tools development. Assistance in developing job aids and other tools that facilitate efficient and effective implementation of earthquake mitigation efforts.
- Special project support. Depending on the availability of program funding, support for demonstration projects or other original or replicable mitigation initiatives.
FEMA Best Practices
The FEMA Best Practices Portfolio consists of illustrated stories, ideas, activities, and projects that show how others have worked to reduce or prevent damage from disasters. These best practices are submitted by individuals and communities to describe measures they have taken to reduce the loss of life and property from disasters. The portfolio is meant to provide ideas and concepts about reducing losses and to encourage others to evaluate their own risk and consider mitigation as a long-term solution to reducing that risk. In addition to the portfolio, FEMA also provides more detailed case studies that offer in-depth, analytical information about innovative projects throughout the United States that address all types of hazards.
Other Federal Agencies
In addition to FEMA, other federal agencies also provide funding or technical assistance programs for activities that complement or support mitigation objectives. For example, many communities have used Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement mitigation activities. Many funding programs may be found by searching the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, or by browsing other Federal agency websites.