On August 12, 2022, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and White House Infrastructure Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President Mitch Landrieu, announced that FEMA is making $3 billion available for two resilience grant programs that help communities become more resilient to climate change, associated extreme weather events and other hazards.
The funding level for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) annual grant program, which funds projects that protect people and infrastructure from natural hazards and the effects of climate change, will more than double to nearly $2.3 billion.
The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program, which funds projects that mitigate flood risks facing homes and communities, is seeing a five-fold increase to $800 million. These levels are bolstered by nearly $900 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: $200 million for BRIC and $700 million for FMA.
The agency anticipates opening the submission period no later than September 30, 2022. Communities interested in participating have until January 27, 2023 to submit an application.
In a recent speech in Massachusetts, President Biden announced new, historic funding for the BRIC program, as part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to protect Americans impacted by the clear and present danger of climate change. This historic funding for BRIC enables states, local communities, tribes and territories to proactively reduce their vulnerability to flood, hurricanes, drought, wildfires, extreme heat and other hazards.
Since taking office, President Biden has continued to provide additional funding to FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs, increasing them from $700 million to $1.16 billion during his first year in office and more than doubling last year’s funding to more than $3 billion for FY 22.
“Climate change is an existential threat to our nation and our national security, as extreme weather events increasingly are disrupting our lives and our economy,” said Mayorkas.
“With historic levels of funding for the BRIC and FMA programs being announced today, we are investing in our nation’s resilience and building individual and community preparedness across the country,” he added.
The Flood Mitigation Assistance and BRIC programs provide funds to states, local communities, tribes and territories for eligible resilience activities to build a culture of preparedness and strengthen the nation’s readiness for extreme weather and other hazards.
“Millions of Americans in communities big and small feel the effects of climate change each year from droughts, extreme heat, wildfires and floods,” said Landrieu, Senior Adviser to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator.
“The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history. These resilience programs are a lifeline for many communities as they build a better and stronger America,” he explained.
These pre-disaster programs fund projects that invest in a more resilient nation, reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs, particularly in disadvantaged communities in the face of extreme heat and more severe floods, wildfires and hurricanes.
“Climate change is the crisis of our generation, and the actions we take today, will impact generations to come. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, FEMA and the entire Administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to tackle this issue head on by ensuring communities have the tools they need to prepare for a climate resilient future,” said Criswell.
“Chronic lack of investment in climate resilience has only made matters worse for America’s crumbling infrastructure. Unfortunately, these issues are magnified in historically underserved communities. Through this funding and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we seek to correct this injustice and ensure that every community is better able to prepare before disasters strike,” she continued.
Aligning with the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, the Flood Mitigation Assistance and BRIC programs aim to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water and other investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, overburdened and underserved.
Using money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FEMA is increasing the federal cost share to 90% for socially vulnerable communities to lower the financial burden on certain resilience activities. The agency plans to assist federally recognized tribal governments and disadvantaged communities with conducting the Benefit-Cost Analysis for resilience projects to meet eligibility requirements.
FEMA is also expanding investment in the BRIC’s non-financial Direct Technical Assistance to at least 40 communities in the next grant cycle to help build capacity and capability at the local level.
“Disasters themselves don’t discriminate, but their impacts are often felt hardest by our most vulnerable communities, which can make it even harder to get help to the people who need it most,” said FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks.
“This is why FEMA is expanding opportunities for better access to disaster resilience grants by making Direct Technical Assistance more available for communities who seek this critical funding,” he concluded.
Direct Technical Assistance reduces barriers a community may face that could prevent them from accessing the BRIC program. FEMA is transforming the initiative to a more flexible, customer-focused format to support more communities with building and sustaining successful resilience programs, submitting high-quality applications and implementing new and innovative projects that reduce risk and increase resilience.
FEMA will share additional information on BRIC’s Direct Technical Assistance with stakeholders. Interested applicants may also visit the BRIC Direct Technical Assistance webpage to find information and detailed instructions on how to submit an application once available.
The application period for the BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance grants are be available on Grants.gov.
Eligible applicants must apply for funding using FEMA Grants Outcomes, the agency’s grants management system. Submit applications in FEMA Grants Outcome Portal no later than 3 p.m. EDT on January 27, 2023. Applications received by FEMA after this deadline will not be considered for funding.
Photo of hurricane damage via Pixabay.