Getting Started and Applying to the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF Program

Getting Started

Entity Application Overview

The following are steps to take for your application packet.

  • Develop a capitalization grant application package including:
    • Standard Form 424 (SF-424)
    • Capitalization Grant Application Form
    • Project Proposal List
      • Documentation that the entity issued a public notice of no less than six weeks inviting hazard mitigation project proposals from local governments
    • Intended Use Plan
      • Documentation that the Intended Use Plan was provided for public comment and review 
    • Documentation of partnerships, if applicable
  • Have a FEMA-approved State or Tribal Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Establish a revolving loan fund
  • Determine how the entity cost match (10% contribution) will be met

Establish a Revolving Loan Fund

To apply, eligible entities must establish a revolving loan fund to be administered by the agency responsible for emergency management.  Entities are not required to enact enabling legislation to be eligible for participation in the program. Entities may use existing authorities that give their emergency management agency the authority to apply for and manage the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program.

An entity may combine the financial administration of the entity loan fund with the financial administration of any other revolving fund established by the entity, given certain requirements are met. In cases of financial delegation, the entity must provide documentation demonstrating that all applicable parties agree to the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program partnership with the entity’s emergency management agency. ​ 

Develop a Required Intended Use Plan and Local Government Project Proposal List

Entities interested in applying must complete a capitalization grant application, develop an Intended Use Plan and a local government project proposal list. The capitalization grant application materials are available at the bottom of this page under the Capitalization Grant Application Materials section. FEMA will provide guidance materials, training, and technical assistance to eligible entities for completing application materials.

Intended Use Plan

TheIntended Use Plan provides information to FEMA about goals for the entity loan fund, the criteria for the distribution of loans, and the process for management of the loan fund. FEMA will review the Intended Use Plan to ensure it is developed in accordance with the statutory requirements. Entities will be required to update it on an annual basis to ensure continued compliance. The entity must provide the Intended Use Plan to the public for comment and review before submitting it with the application. This also must be documented in the application.

Entities will determine their planned uses for this funding based on their unique mitigation needs and priorities. The Intended Use Plan is specific to the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program and is a blueprint for entities to document their plan for entity loan fund administration, meeting statutory and FEMA program requirements, and entity-specific priorities and objectives.

The entity’s planned approach to programmatic and financial administration of the loan fund should be documented in the Intended Use Plan. 

Topics to be addressed include but are not limited to:

  • Intended applicability of the up to 1% interest rate
  • Loan amortization schedules and repayment timelines
  • Requirements for repayment sources
  • The process for management of the loan fund

The Intended Use Plan must establish the criteria and methods for loan distribution and the applicant’s plan to ensure loan funds are distributed to local governments with the greatest financial need and that 40 percent of the overall benefits of loan funds flow to underserved communities. 

The program will prioritize partnerships between entities for projects which account for larger, regional impacts, or address major economic sectors or infrastructure.  These partnerships are to occur between two eligible entities working together to support a project. Each entity may list these projects on their respective project proposal lists as appropriate.

FEMA will not require applicants to submit a benefit-cost analysis (BCA).

Loan recipients must establish a dedicated source of revenue for repayment. Entities are encouraged to work with local governments to understand potential revenue streams that can support projects and activities.

Entities should incorporate into the appropriate section of their Intended Use Plan any entity-specific revenue stream requirements for their entity loan fund.

Project Proposal List

Entities will determine their planned uses for Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF funding based on their unique mitigation needs and priorities and submit this list with their grant application package. Participating entities will work with their local governments to solicit and select project proposals and will determine which projects and activities will form the list of projects from which the entity will be able to award loans.

This list will be submitted to FEMA with relevant information as a Project Proposal List. FEMA will review these lists for completeness and alignment with program priorities. An updated list should be submitted to FEMA on an annual basis with the entity’s Intended Use Plan to ensure continued compliance.

FEMA will require applications to include local government project proposals and documentation showing the entity provided public notice at least six weeks prior to submission of their application which invited local governments within their jurisdiction to submit hazard mitigation project proposals. 

Entities may use the public notice process that best reaches their local communities. Documentation must be included with an application indicating this public notice requirement. FEMA encourages entities to release their public notices by the first week of March to ensure sufficient time prior to their timely submission of the application.

A well-developed project proposal list affords an entity the opportunity to focus limited loan funds to the local governments most in need of financial assistance, to promote equity, and to prioritize loans for projects ready for financing.

The project proposal list should identify how the proposed projects conform to the Hazard Mitigation Plan of the applicant and the local government. Except for local governments receiving a loan for hazard mitigation planning, local governments that receive a loan under the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program must have a FEMA-approved Local or Tribal Hazard Mitigation Plan.   

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This graphic shows the workflow process of the STORM RLF.
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Project Proposal Public Notice vs. Intended Use Plan Public Comment and Review Requirements

PUBLIC NOTICE: Project Proposal List

  • The Project Proposal List is part of the capitalization grant application materials and contains the planned local government projects and activities that may be awarded.
    • FEMA will require applications to include local government project proposals and documentation showing the entity provided public notice at least six weeks prior to submission of their application which invited local governments within their jurisdiction to submit hazard mitigation project proposals.
    • FEMA encourages entities to release their public notices by the first week of March to ensure sufficient time for this release prior to the application deadline. 

PUBLIC COMMENT AND REVIEW: Intended Use Plan

  • The Intended Use Plan is part of the capitalization grant application materials and provides information to FEMA about goals for the entity loan fund, the criteria for the distribution of loans, and the process for management of the loan fund.
    • The entity’s Intended Use Plan must beprovided for public comment and review, and consultation with appropriate government agencies of the State or Indian tribal government, Federal agencies, and interest groups.
    • Unlike the public notice requirement of six weeks for the project proposal list, there is no specified timeline for the public comment and review of the Intended Use Plan. Entities must provide documentation of having provided the Intended Use Plan for public comment and review.

Standard Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)

A completed Standard Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) needs to be included with an entity’s capitalization grant application. For instructions on how to access and submit an SF-424 for the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program, please review instructions within the NOFO.  

Hazard Mitigation Plan

An entity must have a FEMA-approved State or Tribal Hazard Mitigation Plan.  As part of the application process, entities must include an assessment of recurring major disaster vulnerabilities that demonstrate a risk to life and property. In addition, a proposal of the systematic and regional approach to achieve resilience in a vulnerable area must be provided. This information should be in the FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans and entities can cite and link to their existing plans.

Cost-Match

Capitalization grant recipients must deposit an amount that is at least 10% of the amount of the grant into the loan fund, as a condition of receiving funding. On or before the date on which the capitalization grant is received, entities must contribute to the entity loan fund an amount equal to at least 10% of the capitalization grant. If an entity contributes less than 10%, FEMA will reduce the amount of the capitalization grant to whatever amount is 10 times that of what the entity contributes. To ensure the accessibility of loans from local communities, entities may not use contributions from loan recipients to source the entity contribution.

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 on availability of funds, quality of applications, and other applicable considerations such as 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.

Applying

  • To apply for funding made available, applicants must adhere to the application and funding deadlines. The application period opens on Feb. 1, 2023.
  • Eligible applicants must apply for funding using the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants management system. Applications must be received by April 28, 2023 (3 p.m. Eastern Time).
  • The period of performance for capitalization grants will be 24 months from the date of award. The projected period of performance start date will vary by award.

Capitalization Grant Application Materials

Initial applications are processed through the Grants.gov portal. Final applications are to be completed and submitted through FEMA’s Non-Disaster (ND Grants) System.

To be eligible, applicants must submit to FEMA’s ND Grants System:

  • Completed Capitalization Grant Application.
  • Intended Use Plan that has been published by the applicant for public review and comment prior to submitting an application.
  • (Local Government) Project Proposal List that results from a public notice of no less than six weeks in length, inviting hazard mitigation project proposals from local governments. A template for that project proposal is available.

More detailed eligibility information and application instructions are available within the NOFO on Grants.gov.

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For more information, contact FEMA-STORMRLF@fema.dhs.gov.

Last updated February 3, 2023