Communities hoping to build disaster resilience request record $8B in FEMA grants

Dive Brief:

  • Communities requested nearly $8 billion in federal funding to increase disaster resilience through two major Federal Emergency Management Agency grant programs this fiscal cycle, according to a March 20 press release. 
  • The record-setting request is more than quadruple the $1.8 billion FEMA has available for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs.
  • “This continues the trend that each year more subapplications are submitted than funding is available,” FEMA said in a press release. The agency defines subapplicants as state agencies, local governments and other eligible entities that receive awards through applicants, which are states, tribes and territories.

Dive Insight:

FEMA describes the BRIC and FMA programs as some of the most flexible for communities looking to protect themselves from wildfires, drought, extreme heat, hurricanes, earthquakes, increased flooding and other natural disasters. 

However, not all communities have had the same access to the programs. Larger cities that already have more resources tend to be the most successful at winning funding for projects through BRIC, according to a September analysis by the research group Headwaters Economics.  

When BRIC and FMA applications for this fiscal cycle opened in October, the agency announced “key changes” to lower the financial and administrative burden on applicants. FEMA allowed less-than-$1 million projects to skip a full benefit-cost analysis and is taking on up to 90% of project costs in disadvantaged communities.

By the numbers



Subapplications received by FEMA for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program. Requests totaled $5.6 billion versus $1 billion the agency made available this funding cycle.



Subapplications received by FEMA for the Flood Mitigation Assistance program. Requests total nearly $2.3 billion. The agency made $800 million available this funding cycle. An additional $300 million was offered through the Swift Current funding opportunity.



Subapplications received by FEMA for the Building Code Plus-Up, a new opportunity under BRIC to help states, D.C., territories and federally recognized tribes modernize building codes. Requests total over $52 million.



Requests received by FEMA for BRIC Direct Technical Assistance, which helps communities that may have fewer resources begin climate resilience planning and project solution design. FEMA expects to select at least 80 of these submissions.

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