ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – The state and Vermont municipalities and non-profits seeking federal grants for projects to make their communities more resilient in future disasters will have more time to apply for these funds.
Officials with the state and Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today that the deadline for submitting Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications related to Tropical Storm Irene to FEMA has been extended to September 1, 2013. The state will establish its own deadlines for municipalities and other eligible applicants in order to meet FEMA’s deadline.
The HMGP program provides grant funds in addition to the disaster aid given to individuals and state or local governments after a federally-declared disaster for projects designed to reduce the risks to life and property in future disasters.
“This is an important deadline extension,” said Dave Rapaport, Vermont’s Irene Recovery Officer. “The huge size of this disaster means that we’re receiving more funding through this program than we’ve had the capacity to use before time ran out. The additional time will mean that we’ll be able to avoid leaving money on the table and formulate more eligible projects to prevent damage from future storms.”
The amount of money available is a percentage – 15 percent – of the total disaster aid provided by FEMA, and the program is administered by the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Only state, municipal, or tribal governments and certain non-profits can apply and are responsible for a 25-percent match.
Projects can include flood-proofing structures or making them resistant to hurricanes or tornadoes, or buying out flood-prone properties as Vermont has chosen to do.
“FEMA has already obligated about $13 million in HMGP funds to Vermont, and there could be as much as $21 million more coming,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Landry, the head of FEMA’s Vermont operations.
FEMA had already granted Vermont two extensions of three months each from the normal one-year deadline, Landry said, and utilized a little-known provision of the Stafford Act – the law named after former Vermont Senator Robert Stafford that helped create FEMA – to give the state another six months.
An HMGP application can be downloaded from DEMHS’s website at http://vem.vermont.gov/mitigation, or interested parties may contact the State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Ray Doherty, at 800-347-0488 or email@example.com for an application or assistance in applying for funds. He will be providing additional detailed guidance for applicants shortly.
HMGP funds are awarded on a competitive basis and all applications are reviewed and selected by the state mitigation project selection committee, then subject to approval by FEMA.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.