FEMA has released the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program and Policy Guide (HMA Guide). As of March 23, 2023, the HMA Guide is effective and replaces the 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance and the 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance Addendum.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs provide funding for eligible mitigation activities that protect life and property from future disaster damage to build a more resilient nation.
The last comprehensive policy guidance was issued in February 2015 through the publication of the 2015 HMA Guidance and the 2015 HMA Guidance Addendum. These documents covered all hazard mitigation programs in effect at that time: the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA); and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program.
Since the issuance of the 2015 HMA Guidance and Addendum, FEMA’s programs have significantly grown and changed. Over the past seven years, FEMA published a variety of new policies and supporting materials; Congress passed legislation that authorized new programs, including Building Infrastructure and Resilient Communities (BRIC) and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire (HMGP Post Fire); hazard mitigation methods have advanced; and FEMA stakeholders provided extensive feedback on existing guidance. The 2023 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program and Policy Guide (HMA Guide) incorporates these updates.
The HMA Guide comprehensively outlines the policy and procedural requirements of the following HMA grant programs:
- Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)
- Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
- Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire (HMGP Post Fire)
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program is no longer covered in the HMA Guide. Congress may appropriate additional funds under Section 203 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act outside of the current HMA programs These Congressionally directed spending funds will be administered through the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program. FEMA announces these funding opportunities, which will specify the applicable program requirements, on Grants.gov. For more information about these designated funding projects, visit the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grant Program webpage.
One additional grant program not included in the HMA Guide is the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund (Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF) program. Through this program, FEMA will provide capitalization grants to eligible entities for the establishment of hazard mitigation revolving loan funds. FEMA is assessing the implementation of this program through its inaugural funding opportunity and will issue separate guidance in the future. Additional information is available on the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program webpage.
Scope of the HMA Program and Policy Guide Update
The primary purpose of the HMA Guide update is to incorporate existing policies and guidance materials issued since 2015, simplify and clarify guidance, and incorporate strategic mitigation priorities. These revisions aim to create a document that is easier to navigate and use.
The HMA Guide update will be an iterative process that focuses on continuous improvement. FEMA is working to ensure future iterations of the HMA Guide are more reactive to policy and program updates. The 2023 release of a consolidated HMA Guide is the first step in a multi-phase process to better engage stakeholders, shift to a more agile update process, and increase the accessibility of information as it relates to Hazard Mitigation Assistance policy and programs.
Highlights of Proposed Changes
The HMA Guide consolidates the 2015 HMA Guidance and the 2015 HMA Guidance Addendum into one document.
The HMA Guide:
- Updates FEMA priorities such as resilience and climate adaptation, community lifelines, whole community, equity, capability and capacity building, comprehensive planning and building codes.
- Reflects changes resulting from the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018.
- Incorporates additional policy changes that were published after 2015, including the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and the Build America, Buy America Act.
- Expands information on project types based on existing job aids and factsheets, such as aquifer recharge, storage and recovery, floodplain and stream restoration, flood diversion and storage, wind retrofit, stabilization, wildfire and secondary power sources.
- Incorporates 2021 updates to Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Mitigation Planning regulations
- Expands the eligibility of codes and standards assistance with 5% Codes and Standards.
- Incorporates regulatory changes made to Title 2 Code of Federal Regulations Part 200 in 2020 and expands information on grants management requirements and procedures.
- Expands mitigation planning content and resources.
- Includes new guiding principles, such as ones related to implementing nature-based solutions, as well as the National Mitigation Investment Strategy, National Response Framework and FEMA’s Building Codes Strategy.
- Makes non-substantive revisions to increase overall accessibility and organization of the document.
A comprehensive list of changes can be found in Part 1 of the HMA Guide by visiting the HMA Guide webpage.