When President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed in November 2021, FEMA received $6.8 billion. Under the President’s Investing in America Agenda, these critical funds are being used to help states, local communities, tribes, and territories increase resilience to disasters and other hazards, as well as cybersecurity threats.
As a direct result of this historic legislation, to date, $370 million has been allocated, or is in the process of being allocated, by FEMA for communitywide mitigation to reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs in the face of more frequent and severe events. This includes $160 million in additional awards that FEMA announced on May 19, 2023, for its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program and Flood Mitigation Assistance program.
FEMA Programs Receiving Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funds
|FEMA Program||Total Available||Provided by BIL|
|Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities||$1 billion for five years||
|Cybersecurity Grant for State and Local Governments||$1 billion for four years||
|Dam Safety||$733 million for five years||
|Flood Mitigation Assistance||$3.5 billion for five years||
|Flood Mitigation Assistance Swift Current Initiative||$60 million||
|Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund Program||$500 million for five years||
Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities
The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program supports states, local communities, tribes, and territories by funding mitigation projects to protect people and infrastructure from natural hazards and the effects of climate change. The funding level for this annual grant program more than doubled to nearly $2.3 billion for the fiscal year 2022 funding opportunity.
In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $1 billion for BRIC over five years, which is in addition to the funding that comes through setting aside up to 6% of FEMA assistance provided following major disaster declarations.
The first set of selections for the FY22 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities funding cycle total $136 million for mitigation projects and planning, project scoping, and adoption and enforcement of hazard-resistant building codes. A second set of selections will be announced later this year.
Highlights from the selections for this grant cycle:
- 359 subapplications were submitted and 90% were selected.
- Eight subapplications, totaling $2.1 million, were selected for adoption and enforcement of hazard-resistant building codes, a major FEMA strategic initiative.
- 71 subapplications, totaling $54 million, were selected to support Economically Disadvantaged Rural Communities. For the third funding cycle, the increase in tribal nation requests continued to rise. In total, 37 tribes submitted 52 subapplications for an estimated $54 million in funding.
BRIC Non-Financial Direct Technical Assistance
BRIC non-financial Direct Technical Assistance reduces barriers that communities may face in accessing grants and funds. FEMA is transforming this initiative to a more flexible, customer-focused format to support more communities with building and sustaining successful resilience programs, submitting high-quality applications, and implementing new and innovative projects that reduce risk and increase resilience.
This hands-on technical assistance is based on community preference, with applicants largely requesting hazard mitigation planning, including adaption and resilience, project investment and infrastructure strategies, and project design and implementation.
Each request for assistance was reviewed for social vulnerability, natural hazard risk, history of harm and environmental burdens, and diversity in community type, geographic distribution and hazard diversity.
Highlights from the selections for this grant cycle: 46 communities selected for Fiscal Year 22:
- 96% are considered disadvantaged communities and seven are Economically Disadvantaged Rural Communities.
- 17 selections represent communities with less than 50,000 people.
- Selections include local, community, and tribal projects distributed across 11 inland states and 17 coastal states.
Flood Mitigation Assistance
The Flood Mitigation Assistance program is an annual competitive grant to provide funding to states, local communities, federally recognized tribes and territories. Funds can be used for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $3.5 billion over five years, or $700 million annually, for the Flood Mitigation Assistance program – up from $150–200 million annually in pre-BIL funding years.
FEMA announced the first set of FY 2022 selections for Flood Mitigation Assistance early to ensure that funding quickly gets to the communities that need it most. Funding selections include $24 million for project scoping, plan updates, and financial technical assistance.
Highlights from the selections for this grant cycle:
- Selections are distributed across 17 states and the District of Columbia.
- More than half of these projects, representing $11 million of the awarded funds, are for projects benefiting underserved or disadvantaged communities distributed across 10 states.
- FEMA selected 95% of the 61 subapplications for the activity types that were submitted.
Flood Mitigation Assistance Swift Current Initiative
The Flood Mitigation Assistance Swift Current Initiative was FEMA’s first BIL-funded program. The intent of this initiative is to explore how to make flood mitigation assistance available within the disaster recovery timeframe for repetitively flooded and substantially damaged buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in September 2021, the Swift Current initiative provided $60 million to Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to expedite hazard mitigation grants to disaster survivors with repetitively flooded homes. These four states have the highest number of unmitigated severe repetitive loss and repetitive loss flood insured properties. These states also have the most National Flood Insurance Program claims within their respective FEMA regions.
The $60 million in funding for the Swift Current Initiative was announced in March 2023, and within a year, FEMA has awarded $30.5 million to reduce flood risk.
The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program provides funding to address cybersecurity risks and threats to information systems owned or operated by, or on behalf of, state, local, tribal, or territorial governments. For FY 2022, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $185 million for this program, of which the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have allocated $176 million. In total, the law provides $1 billion over the next four years in a whole-of-nation effort to combat cyber threats and enhance cybersecurity grant programs.
FEMA gathered feedback from tribal officials on the development of the complementary Tribal Cybersecurity Grant Program and expects to publish the funding opportunity later this summer.
Dam infrastructure can be adversely affected by natural hazards, nearby development, and imbalances between a dam’s age and resources invested in its upkeep.
Over the next five years, FEMA will award $733 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for dam safety grants that enable states and territories to enhance dam safety and rehabilitate or remove aging dams. FEMA anticipates announcing the second dam safety funding opportunity using this funding.
The High Hazard Potential Dam Grant and the National Dam Safety State Assistance Grant programs awarded $33 million in FY 2022 grants to 49 states and one territory for non-federal dams. Of this amount, nearly $15 million is from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. The funding provides technical assistance, planning, design, and construction grants for rehabilitating eligible high-hazard potential dams.
Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund Program
The Safeguarding Tomorrow Through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act authorizes FEMA to provide capitalization grants to states, eligible federally recognized tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia to establish revolving loan funds to local governments to reduce risks from natural hazards and disasters.
Through FEMA’s Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program, entities are empowered to make funding decisions and award loans directly. The revolving loan funds that they create will help local governments carry out hazard mitigation projects that build climate resilience and reduce disaster risks for homeowners, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $500 million in the program over five years.
In December 2023, FEMA announced the availability of $50 million in capitalization grants to fund low-interest loans for eligible states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The first application period for this new program ended in April 2023. FEMA hosted a series of technical assistance webinars and office hours to help applicants, including Twenty Tribal Nations that received a major disaster declaration between Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 1, 2021 and are eligible for this first round of funding.
The Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund complements and strengthens FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant portfolio, through which multiple grant programs support projects at the local government level to increase the nation’s resilience to natural hazards and climate change. Loans may be used to help local governments satisfy the non-federal cost share requirements of these grant programs, for which they are required to provide a cost-share of up to 25%.