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Before You Apply for STORM Funds

Grant Application Assistance

Funding and Awards

Submitting an Intended Use Plan

Project and Loan Requirements

Entity Loan Fund Administration

Capitalization Grant Award


Grant Application Assistance

FEMA developed usable templates for eligible entities. Additionally, interested applicants can email the program team for a fillable version of the Intended Use Plan template

FEMA continues to engage stakeholders and adds additional input to inform program implementation. Entities should consider their specific program implementation plans and considerations while preparing to apply for the program.

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Entities can email the program team for guidance as they have questions while preparing applications.

Funding and Awards

Although there may not be a scoring criteria for the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF Program, submitted applications will be reviewed for completeness and compliance with statutory requirements before awarding capitalization grants.

FEMA considers a variety of factors when making capitalization grant awards. Some of these factors include:

  • Considering the number of entities applying
  • Total amount of funding each entity indicates they need
  • Cost to the entity for management and oversight of the program
  • Equity emphasis in the Intended Use Plan

FEMA anticipates making capitalization grant awards in late summer of 2023. Awards depend on the availability of funds, quality of the grant applications received, and other applicable considerations. Funding will be issued to entities at the time of award and upon establishment of the entity loan fund. FEMA will not retain the funds until loans are ready to be issued. 

Submitting an Intended Use Plan

When developing their Intended Use Plans, entities are required to include information about how the entity loan fund will target funding for low-income geographic areas and underserved communities with the goal that 40% of the overall benefits generated by the entity loan funds flow to underserved communities. Tribal jurisdictions are considered underserved.

Additionally, the Project Proposal List should contain information about whether the loan recipients are within low-income geographic areas and or underserved communities.

There are many tools that are available that can identify an underserved community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), and FEMA’s National Risk Index. Additionally, entities are also allowed to document their approach to defining disadvantaged communities in their Intended Use Plans.

Entities can consider a community underserved using the following criteria:

  • For CDC SVI, underserved communities are defined as census tracts with a score greater than or equal to 0.8. A project can be identified as benefiting an underserved community if at least 50% of the census tracts across the project-benefiting area have a CDC SVI score greater than or equal to 0.8. Refer to the Definitions Section of the Capitalization Grant Application for information on obtaining a CDC SVI score.
  • For CEQ CEJST, underserved communities are defined as census tracts that are identified as “disadvantaged” using the “Explore the map” function found on the CEJST website. A community is considered disadvantaged under the CEJST methodology when they are in census tracts that meet the thresholds for at least one of the tool’s categories of burden, or if they are on land within the boundaries of a federally recognized tribe. In addition, a census tract that is surrounded by disadvantaged communities and is at or above the 50th percentile for low income is also considered disadvantaged. Finally, a project can be identified as benefiting an underserved community if at least 50% of the census tracts across the project-benefiting area are categorized as “disadvantaged” using the CEJST methodology.

Project and Loan Requirements

Recipients of the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF loans must comply with the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA). In general, loan funds may not be used for a project for infrastructure (as defined under BABAA law and policy) unless the iron and steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in that infrastructure are produced in the United States.  

Buy America preferences:

  • Applies to articles, materials, and supplies that are consumed in, incorporated into, or affixed to an infrastructure project.
  • Does not apply to tools, equipment, and supplies, such as temporary scaffolding, brought to the construction site and removed at or before the completion of the infrastructure project.
  • Does not apply to equipment and furnishings, such as movable chairs, desks, and portable computer equipment that are used at or within the finished infrastructure project but are not an integral part of the structure or permanently affixed to the infrastructure project.

For more information on FEMA’s implementation of the BABAA requirements, see FEMA’s current policy and guidance.

Loans resulting from a Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program capitalization grant award are subject to select Title 2 Code of Federal Regulations requirements, including subsections 200.203, 200.216, 200.303, and 200.331-200.333.

States are required to follow the socioeconomic steps in soliciting small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises and labor surplus area firms. 

Entity Loan Fund Administration

Financial administration for the loan fund includes:

  • Managing loan awards and repayments
  • Tracking amounts in the entity loan fund, including the capitalization grant, entity share, repayments of loans, and interest earned
  • Allocating amounts to each loan recipient not to exceed statutory limits.

Entities may also stipulate and manage specific loan terms, including, but not limited to the establishment of:

  • Incremental disbursements of loan funds for phased projects​
  • Timeframes to categorize delinquent loan repayments

Additionally, entities must be aware of the statutory requirements for the entity loan fund financial administration. Financial administration of the entity loan fund may be combined with any other revolving fund established by the entity, if the following occur: 

  • Documentation demonstrating partnership with the entity’s emergency management agency is provided in the capitalization grant application. 
  • The partnering loan fund is also under the authority of the entity.
  • Amounts tied to the program are accounted for separately from other amounts in the entity loan fund
  • An entity cannot delegate financial administration to a financial institution that isn’t under the authority of the entity (e.g., a private institution, including non-profits). 

To ensure eligibility, an entity must have a defined process in their application materials which they intend to institute before a grant can be awarded, although actual implementation can happen between application submission and grant award.

Entities must establish the entity loan fund before receiving the award (including any necessary legal authority for their emergency management agency to administer the program or any delegation for financial administration of the fund, etc.) and the fund must be established in alignment with the submitted Intended Use Plan. 

Capitalization Grant Award

FEMA has considered the administrative burden on entities and anticipates making available no less than $5.1 million per capitalization grant application selected for funding with this first funding opportunity.

FEMA will leverage a variety of factors in making awards. If necessary, applications that pass the eligibility criteria review may be evaluated further. Grant application materials will be reviewed, and entities will be awarded amounts-based things such on availability of funds, quality of applications, and how the application alignment with the priorities established in Section 205(d)(3) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Recovery and Emergency Assistance Act. In addition, grants awarded will align with the agency’s resilience and equity goals.

FEMA will incorporate best practices learned from participating entities into subsequent funding opportunities and program policies. FEMA will also collaborate with eligible entities to develop their capitalization grant applications.


Disasters impact people and communities differently. Every disaster occurs within a unique context based on a community’s geographic, demographic, political, historical and cultural characteristics. FEMA has moved swiftly to instill equity throughout all its work. This can be seen from its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.

The agency’s work to further integrate equity in our Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs demonstrates its larger ambition to instill equity as an essential piece of resilience. This includes is incorporating equity into the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program.

The revolving loan funds are intended to reach recipients most in need of financial assistance, including those living in low-income geographic areas and underserved communities. A goal of the program is that 40% of the overall benefits generated by the entity loan funds flow to underserved communities. Entities are asked to describe how they will address these considerations in their Intended Use Plan.

Low-income geographic areas are defined by this criteria:

  • The area has a per capita income of 80% or less of the national average; or  
  • The area has an unemployment rate that is, for the most recent 24-month period for which data are available, at least 1% greater than the national average unemployment rate. 

Refer to the Definitions Section of the Capitalization Grant Application for information how to determine whether a community is considered to be low-income. 

In addition, several aspects of the program, such as allowing loans to be used for non-federal cost sharing for other Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs, are intended to help provide financial assistance to these communities.