On Dec. 1, FEMA announced it obligated about $10.28 million for flood resilience projects in Louisiana and New Jersey through its Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Swift Current Initiative, taking strides towards timely mitigation by expediting money to communities working to become more resilient to floods. This is the first FEMA initiative funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Current Allocation Summaries
FEMA made $60 million to Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—all states affected by Hurricane Ida—to equitably expedite mitigation flood grants to disaster survivors with repetitively flooded homes. The below projects are receiving funding in this first round of allocations.
In this round of obligations, the state of Louisiana will use $280,000 to reconstruct two flood-prone structures in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The properties will be rebuilt to higher standards to reduce flood damage and potential National Flood Insurance Program claims payments.
New Jersey: $10 Million
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) will use the $10 million obligation to acquire and demolish 31 repetitive and severe repetitive loss properties—28 of which were substantially damaged by Hurricane Ida—in the Borough of Manville, New Jersey. Further, lands in Somerset County near the Raritan and Millstone rivers will be converted for open space andconservation.
Additional States and Projects to Receive Funding
FEMA continues to review all other subapplications submitted for the Flood Mitigation Assistance Swift Current Initiative and will announce further selections in the upcoming months.
In the following summaries, substantial damage refers to damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its condition before the disaster event would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure. Buildings that are determined to be substantially damaged must be brought into compliance with the flood resistant construction requirements of the community’s current floodplain management regulations.
Louisiana: $40 Million
As one of four states hit hardest by Hurricane Ida in 2021, Louisiana saw the highest number of unmitigated losses and repetitive loss properties insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
FEMA designated $40 million to the state for NFIP-insured repetitively flooded and substantially damaged properties affected by the hurricane.
Subapplications exceeded the state allocation of $40 million, however the full amount available to the state for acquisition, elevation and mitigation reconstruction projects will be obligated in the upcoming months. Subapplications included 12 acquisitions, 222 elevations and 9 mitigation reconstruction projects in 15 communities.
Mississippi: $5 Million
Prior to Hurricane Ida’s impacts in Mississippi, the state had not pursued FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance program since 2009. FEMA made $5 million in funding available. The state received nearly $4.8 million in subapplications for financial assistance for acquisition and elevation projects in six communities. FEMA continues to review these subapplications and will announce further selections in the upcoming months.
To gauge interest in the initiative, working with the state, FEMA mailed 206 letters to homeowners about the program in May 2022. The campaign helped maximize interest in socially vulnerable communities and direct individuals to contact their local government to learn more about applying. FEMA also provided technical assistance to Mississippi for cost estimate and subapplication development, which reduced the application burden for small local governments in Mississippi.
Subapplications included 17 voluntary acquisitions and 9 elevation mitigation projects in six communities.
Pennsylvania: $5 Million
Hurricane Ida devastated many communities throughout Pennsylvania in 2021. By March 2022, the National Flood Insurance Program paid policyholders more than $94.7 million for 1,827 claims filed to repair and rebuild flood-damaged properties and contents.
Subapplications exceeded the $5 million amount allocated for the state. Awards will be announced in the upcoming months to ensure projects for acquiring, elevating and mitigation reconstruction can begin across communities impacted by the hurricane. Subapplications included one acquisition, seven elevations, and one mitigation reconstruction project consisting of 10 residences in four communities.