Pasadena, Calif. -- The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) met with eight public agencies in Imperial County June 15 to announce the availability of an estimated $21 million in federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) money.
The funds are being offered on a competitive basis to state and local agencies in Imperial and other eligible California counties in the wake of the severe winter storms last January and February, and the April 4 earthquake.
As a state with an enhanced hazard mitigation plan, California is eligible for federal hazard mitigation grants totaling 20 percent of the disaster recovery funds obligated by FEMA. Under current law, successful applicants must agree to match FEMA's 75-percent share with a 25-percent cash or in-kind contribution.
Information about eligibility criteria is being made available on the Cal EMA web site's hazard mitigation web portal at hazardmitigation.calema.ca.gov.
At the workshop, conducted at the Imperial County Office of Emergency Services in Heber, state and federal officials explained the application process, eligibility requirements and key dates for HMGP funding.
They also explained a key component of recovery from natural disasterslike those that havestruck Imperial County this year is immediate and thoughtful action to reduce risk of future losses from disasters.
"The availability of HMGP grants provides a perfect opportunity for applicants to convert goals and objectives from their Multihazard Mitigation Plan into actual projects," FEMA Hazard Mitigation Officer Phillip Wang said.
Cal EMA's Joe Petersen told prospective applicants: "Cal EMA and FEMA are here to work with you."
Approximately $7.5 million of the $21 million will be available to eligible agencies statewide to pay for mitigation projects or for the development of local multi-hazard mitigation plans. This funding became available after the presidential disaster declaration on March 8 for severe winter storms, flooding, and debris and mud flows.
An estimated $13 million in HMGP funding in connection with the May 7 presidential disaster declaration for the April 4 earthquake will become available later.
Although the HMGP funds are made available through FEMA, Cal EMA administers the program and recommends projects to FEMA for funding.
The HMGP funds are offered to eligible local governments, state agencies, special districts, public colleges and universities, and certain private nonprofit organizations for projects that reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from the effects of natural hazards.
Agencies and organizations wishing to seek HMGP funding in connection with the winter storms must submit a Notice of Interest to Cal EMA by July 19. The NOI is available on the Cal EMA hazard mitigation web portal. No late NOIs will be accepted. (Deadlines have not been established for applying for HMGP funds in connection with the earthquake.)
Once an agency or organization has submitted a notice, Cal EMA will review it to determine whether it meets requirements to continue with the application process.
In order to receive funding for an HMGP project, an agency or organization must have a current FEMA approved local Hazard Mitigation Plan that demonstrates a long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses.
If Cal EMA decides an agency or organization meets the requirements for HMGP funds, the agencies and organizations will be given confirmation via email to submit a formal application for their proposed projects.
Projects that may be eligible for funding include structural and non-structural earthquake- related retrofits, and flood mitigation projects that include flood barriers, culverts and basins....