$5 billion is now available to help American states and communities boost climate-related disaster resilience and recovery capacity

On August 9, 2021, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced three pre-disaster resilience funding opportunities to help states and communities prepare for major disasters that are costing lives and livelihoods, and devastating local communities and businesses nationwide.

These programs allow communities to apply for nearly $5 billion to increase their preparedness in advance of climate-related extreme weather events and other disasters, and improve their ability to recover after these events.

These new funding opportunities support the President’s Build Back Better Agenda. This agenda includes historic investments to make America’s dilapidated infrastructure more resilient in the face of increasingly severe floods, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and other risks.

It also supports the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal of delivering at least 40% of the overall benefits of Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

These investments are meant to advance environmental justice and equity, reduce the vulnerability of communities to disasters, promote individual and community safety, strengthen the nation’s ability to adapt to changing conditions, and reduce the burdens these changes place on first responders.

Climate change is a major driver for the increased frequency, duration, and severity of extreme weather and climate-related disasters. Millions of Americans feel the effects of these extreme events when their roads and schools flood, and hospitals lose power.

Over the past few years, the frequency of extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion has skyrocketed. From 2000 to 2009, these billion-dollar disasters occurred 6 times a year on average.

From 2010 to 2020, that number increased to an average of 13 events per year, causing more than $975 billion in disaster damages over the decade. Last year alone, the United States faced $100 billion in damages to homes, businesses, and public infrastructure due to disasters. Annual deaths and monetary losses from these events have more than doubled.

Many of these investments will also create jobs in renovating buildings and infrastructure. An analysis of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act showed that investments in community resilience generated 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars spent and an economic return of $2.40 for every $1 invested.

Use the links below to apply for specific resilience funding:

  • $1 billion is available for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program for Fiscal Year 2021. This new program, launched in 2020, provides grants to states, local communities, tribes, and territories to proactively reduce their vulnerability to natural hazard events before they occur, and make themselves and the nation more resilient. This year, the Biden Administration is doubling the program’s funding and implementing a number of changes to enhance funding opportunities for tribes and disadvantaged communities, including by changing program selection criteria and providing a larger allocation for tribes;
  • $3.46 billion is available for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The 59 states, tribes, and territories that received a major disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive 4% of the disaster costs related to their declaration to invest in mitigation projects that will help better prepare and protect communities from natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. The influx of funding will help communities prioritize mitigation needs for a more resilient future, including underserved communities that are often most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; and
  • $160 million is available for FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program for Fiscal Year 2021 to reduce or eliminate the risks of repetitive flood damage to homes and buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Photo of storm surge in Rhode Island by Jerry Coli from Pixabay.

You must be logged in to post a comment