On December 3, 2003, the President signed into law the Tornado Shelters Act (Public Law 108-146), which amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, authorizing communities to use community development block grant funds to construct tornado-safe shelters in manufactured home parks. To be eligible, a shelter must be located in a neighborhood or park that contains at least 20 units, consists predominately of low- and moderate-income households, and is in a state where a tornado has occurred within the current year or last 3 years. The shelter must comply with tornado-appropriate safety and construction standards, be large enough to accommodate all members of the park/neighborhood, and be located in a park/neighborhood that has a warning siren. Community development block grant funds are funded through HUD.
On January 14, 2000, as part of The Housing and Urban Development (HUD)/ The Federal Housing Adminstration's (FHA’s) continuing efforts to be responsive to public safety concerns, HUD began allowing borrowers to include windstorm shelters as an eligible work item for FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loans and FHA 203(b) financed new construction (see HUD Disaster Recovery Assistance). Shelters financed with FHA-insured mortgages must be constructed consistent with the guidelines presented in FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business.
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) assists states and local communities in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster declaration. As of November 1, 2004, all communities must have an approved hazard mitigation plan in place to remain eligible for HMGP funding. HMGP grants can be used to fund projects that provide protection to both public as well as private properties. Projects that are eligible under the HMGP grant include (but are not limited to) acquiring and demolishing or relocating structures from hazard-prone areas; retrofitting structures to protect them from floods, high winds, earthquakes, or other natural hazards; and constructing residential and community shelters in tornado-prone areas.
FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The state or local match does not have to be cash; in-kind services or materials may be used. Federal funding under the HMGP is based on 7.5 percent of the Federal funds spent on the Public and Individual Assistance programs (minus administrative expenses) for each disaster. Eligible applicants must apply for the HMGP through the State Hazard Mitigation Officer (See the HMGP main page).
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Funds provide both planning and project funding to eligible communities. Communities must complete an approved hazard mitigation plan by November 1, 2004, to remain eligible for PDM funds. PDM project funding is nationally competitive; there is no "base" amount guaranteed to each state. A national priority is placed on projects that address National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) repetitive loss properties and a benefit cost analysis is required for each proposed project. Projects are awarded priority based on the state's analysis and resulting ranking, and on factors such as cost-effectiveness, addressing critical facilities, and the percent of the population that benefits from the project. FEMA funds up to 75 percent of the cost of the project, or up to 90 percent for small, impoverished communities. There is a $3 million cap on the Federal share of the cost per project (See the PDM main page).