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The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Guide for Federally-Recognized Tribal Governments

 The governing body of any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe under the Federally Recognized Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a et seq.). This does not include Alaska Native corporations, the ownership of which is vested in private individuals.  Only Federally-recognized tribes can directly request disaster declarations from the federal government.This section provides Hazard Mitigation Grant Program information that is specific to Tribal Governments.

This page features information on the HMGP process and the differences in the roles and responsibilities for tribes that can act either as an applicant or as a subapplicant to the state. Federally-recognized tribes may have a number of considerations to evaluate when deciding whether to be an applicant or subapplicant. In addition, this section provides general information on the HMGP process that addresses the HMGP lifecycle from a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to Closeout.

The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) of 2013 amended the procedures for requesting disaster declarations. The SRIA amendments allow Federally-recognized tribes to directly request disaster declarations from the federal government. This change provides Federally-recognized tribes with the option of applying for HMGP funds as either an applicant or a subapplicant.

Decision to Apply as an Applicant or Subapplicant

Federally-recognized tribes that are interested in requesting HMGP funds as an applicant must submit a disaster declaration request to FEMA within 30 days of the incident and must include FEMA Form 010-0-13: Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration: Major Disaster or Emergency. The request will include the types of assistance needed, Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) findings, and information on the impacts of the damage. For additional information, please visit the Federally-Recognized Tribes and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Option to Submit as an Applicant or Subapplicant Job Aid.

Federally-Recognized Tribes Considerations

A Federally-recognized tribe has a number of considerations to evaluate when deciding whether to be an applicant or subapplicant. In some cases, HMGP funding may be minimal for a Federally-recognized tribe when the HMGP ceiling is determined for the tribal jurisdiction. In these cases, if the state or territory is also requesting a Major Disaster Declaration, it may benefit the Federally-recognized tribe to act as a subapplicant and apply for HMGP through the state or territory. In some cases, a lack of capacity to manage the grant may be a concern and working through a state or territory as a subapplicant might aid a Federally-recognized tribe to obtain needed technical assistance for managing HMGP awards.

The following table provides a summary of benefits and responsibilities of a Federally-recognized tribe as an applicant and as a subapplicant.

Benefits and Responsibilities of Tribes as an Applicant vs. Subapplicant

 Control over entire application process; yes; no.Set hazard mitigation and redevelopment priority to the tribe's specific needs; yes; possibly.Submit own prioritized list of specific projects to FEMA; yes; no.Additional preparation and review time for application submittal; yes; no.5 percent initiative funding; yes; possibly.Up to 7 percent of the Applicant's HMGP ceiling may be used for mitigation planning activities; yes; possibly.Control of HMGP Advance Assistance Pilot funds available; yes; limited.Funding available for management costs; yes; possibly.The graphic switches to a list of responsibilities here, still listing a yes, no, or possibly for Tribes as Applicants and Tribes as Subapplicants, respectively.Submit a disaster declaration request to FEMA within 30 days of the incident; yes; no.Have minimum staffing requirements for grant administration; yes; no.Have a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan; yes; yes.Have an approved Administrative Plan; yes; no.Perform Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) application review (i.e., determination of technical feasibility and effectiveness); yes; yes.Provide non-Federal match funds; yes; possibly.Ensure Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) compliance and Federal requirements for floodplain management and protection of wetlands are met; yes; yes. Submit quarterly financial and progress reports; yes; yes.Perform grant closeout procedures and maintain files for 3 years; yes; no.

Roles of Federally-Recognized Tribe as an Applicant vs. Subapplicant

Role of Tribe as Subapplicant.Perform damage assessments.Work with State or tribe to determine funding amount and priorities for HMGP.Encourage community members involvement in hazard decision-making.Prepare and submit the grant application to the State or tribe.Determine sources of funding for non-Federal match.After FEMA approval, sign and implement the grant agreement.Issue necessary permits.Management and monitor the progress of the project and ensure compliance.Conduct final inspections and prepare for closeout.Role of Tribe as Applicant.Request a major disaster declaration by the President to trigger the availability of HMGP funds.Notify FEMA whether the tribe will participate in HMGP.As needed, update both the Tribe Administrative Plan and the mitigation strategy (e.g. priorities to communities).Assist communities with developing grant applications.Verify Duplication of Benefits.Review applications and provide feedback to the tribal agency.Submit tribe-approved grant applications to FEMA.Notify tribal agency about FEMA approval decisions.Upon signed grant agreement, initiate project based on terms and conditions of the award.Work with tribal agency to implement and monitor project progress.Close out the project by completing the necessary paperwork and submitting it to FEMA.

HMGP Timeline

The following graphic shows the seven major HMGP steps with estimated timeline from project scoping to grant award closeout: project scoping, project development, project submission, project review, project award and obligation, project implementation and monitoring, and award close out. HMGP grant recipients will have 36 months from the close of the application period to complete projects.

 Award closeout, 90 days.

HMGP Applicant/Subapplicant Process

HMGP Funding Available.1. Project Scoping2. Project Development 3. Project Submission 4. Project Review 5. Project Award and Obligation 6. Project Implementation and Monitoring 7. Award Closeout

HMGP Funding Determined

A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration provides for the availability of HMGP funds at the request of the Tribal Chief Executive within its eligible boundary.

The amount of HMGP funding available to the applicant is based on the estimated total federal assistance, subject to the sliding scale formula outlined in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 206.432(b).

HMGP Funding Ceiling

$0 to $2 billion - 15%$2 to $10 billion - 10%$10 to $35 1/3 billion - 7.5%Total Percentage eligible for HMGP: 20% (tribes with enhanced plans)(0 to $35 1/3 billion dollars).

 A hazard mitigation plan that includes all elements of the Standard State Mitigation Plan and demonstrates that the state has developed a comprehensive mitigation program and is capable of managing increased funding to achieve its mitigation goals. Also, the plan is integrated to the extent practicable with other state and/or regional planning initiatives and FEMA mitigation programs and initiatives.Standard Plan: A hazard mitigation plan is a stakeholder-driven document that a state, tribal, or local government uses to describe risks and vulnerabilities as well as long-term strategies and implementation approaches for reducing loss of life and property from natural disasters. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.Benefit of an Enhanced Plan:A state with a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan is eligible to receive increased funds under HMGP following a disaster declaration. Specifically, a state with an Enhanced Mitigation Plan receives HMGP funds based on 20% of the total estimated eligible Stafford Act disaster assistance, versus 15% for states without Enhanced Mitigation Plans.The formula provides for up to 15 percent of the first $2 billion of estimated aggregate amounts of disaster assistance, up to 10 percent for amounts between $2 billion and $10 billion, and up to 7.5 percent for amounts between $10 billion and $35.333 billion. If a tribe has an Enhanced Mitigation Plan, the eligible assistance is up to 20 percent for estimated aggregate amounts of disaster assistance not to exceed $35.333 billion.

Immediately After Declaration

Regulations require the tribe to provide a Letter of Intent within 30 days after a disaster declaration that notifies FEMA whether or not the tribe will participate in HMGP.

The tribal Administrative Plan and the mitigation strategy may need to be updated and approved to secure funding.

The Preliminary Damage Assessment

A joint federal-tribal Preliminary Disaster Assessment (PDA) is required to ensure a thorough assessment of the impacted area. The PDA will determine the amount and type of federal assistance needed. If the severity of the damage warrants a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, the Individual Assistance (IA) or Public Assistance (PA) programs and mitigation programs such as HMGP become eligible funding options. PDAs can be used to identify potential mitigation opportunities that might be funded through HMGP or through the PA Program.

Project Scoping

icon for project scoping Project scoping and project development are two of the earliest steps in the overall project lifecycle and can have a significant impact on the course an application or subapplication takes through the HMGP grant process. Tribes can use project scoping to develop effective mitigation alternatives. Tribes are encouraged to begin by identifying risks or problems and examining alternative solutions during the mitigation planning process. It is important to propose a project that will reduce or eliminate long-term risk.

The scoping process results in the development of a preferred project alternative that is then documented through the preparation of the application or subapplication. Tribes are encouraged to consider the whole range of program requirements at the beginning stages of project development. Including these considerations into the scoping process can increase the efficiency of program review and ensure that all HMGP requirements are met.

Frontloading Steps

 Develop/update hazard mitigation plan; Identify the community need; project scoping; project development; subapplication development.  Then, Subapplication submission and review; Award; Project implementation; project monitoring; project closeout.  Then process begins again.

Frontloading, or addressing program eligibility requirements at the earliest point in the decision-making process, will increase the efficiency of the overall HMGP project. It also reduces the need for requests for information (RFIs), which may result in quicker selections of projects for further review or approval.

Technical feasibility;Cost review;Cost-effectiveness;Environmental and cultural resources effects; Support of community.

To be eligible for HMGP funding, proposed measures must meet the minimum project criteria in 44 CFR Section 206.434(b).

Project Development

icon for project development The information gathered in the scoping process serves as the basis for the development of defined project scope and technical design, cost, and Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) compliance components of the mitigation activity. During the project development process, tribes may encounter project considerations, such as technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and EHP requirements, that necessitate refining or adjusting the mitigation activity. When these situations are encountered, the reason for the refinement or re-scoping should be fully documented in the subapplication.

Project Submission

icon for project submission The flowchart below explains the process individual homeowners, businesses, subapplicants, and applicants must go through to apply for HMGP and how this process leads to FEMA.

HMGP Application Flow

 State Agencies; Federally-Recognized Tribes; Tribal Agencies; Local Government/Communities to Applicants: Territories; Federally-Recognized Tribes; States to FEMA.

The following is a list of governments and organizations that can sponsor an application on behalf of individuals:

  • Federally-recognized tribes
  • States or territories
  • Local communities
  • Private nonprofit organizations

HMGP subapplications must be submitted to FEMA within 12 months of the date of the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. Upon written request and justification from the applicant, FEMA may extend the application submission timeline in 30- to 90-day increments, not to exceed a total extension of 180 days, in the event of extraordinary conditions. For additional information, see 44 CFR Section 206.436.

Project Review

icon for project review Federally-recognized tribes are eligible applicants for HMGP. The applicant is responsible for soliciting subapplications from eligible subapplicants and assisting in the preparation of, review, and submission of eligible, complete applications to FEMA.

If the applicant does not agree with an eligibility determination, they may appeal.

Project Award and Obligation

FEMA awards the HMGP funds to the recipient, which disburses those funds to its subrecipient, generally the local governments. Homeowners may start their projects once authorized by their tribal official. Work started prior to FEMA review and approval is ineligible for funding.

Project Implementation and Monitoring

icon for project implementation and monitoring All selected applications must be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 12 months after the disaster declaration.

The tribe is required to oversee the implementation of HMGP projects. Monitoring methods include site visits and updates via telephone, meetings, and progress reports. The tribe works to ensure the following:

  • Grant terms and conditions are met
  • Project is implemented according to approved scope of work, budget, and timeline
  • Project is in compliance with EHP and floodplain management requirements
  • Project is in compliance with the administrative requirements of 44 CFR Part 206 and 2 CFR Part 200
  • Project is in compliance with audit requirements of 2 CFR Part 200 Subpart F
  • Quarterly progress reports are submitted to FEMA on funded mitigation activities

For more information on quarterly reporting, see the HMGP Quarterly Progress Report Job Aid.

Sound project monitoring improves the efficiency of the project implementation process and the obligation of funds process.

Award Closeout

icon for award closeout Closeout is the process of determining that all applicable administrative actions (including compliance with terms and conditions of an award) and all required work (project or program objectives) of the award have been completed by the recipient and FEMA. Closeout must be completed within 90 days of the end of the Period of Performance (POP) or may occur earlier if a recipient completes all required work or expends all available federal funding in advance of the scheduled closeout timeline.

There are two types of Federal Prime Grant Award Closeout: Standard and Administrative.

Standard Closeout is the common and proper closeout process, which ensures that final reports are received and evaluated, final allowable costs are determined (although subject to adjustment as a result of a subsequent audit), any amounts due to FEMA or the recipient are determined and payment arrangements are made, and settlement in the disposition of property acquired or provided for use under the grant is finalized. Standard Closeout actions must conform to regulatory requirements and program guidance. If the Standard Closeout process is unable to be completed, for any reason, FEMA will pursue Administrative Closeout.

Administrative Closeout is closure of a Federal Prime Grant Award when the recipient is non-compliant, there is clear negligence on the part of the recipient, or the recipient is unwilling to complete the closeout requirements or submit required final reports. The agency decision may or may not result in further consequences via enforcement actions. (See 2 CFR Section 200.339(a)(1) and 2 CFR Section 200.343, especially Section 200.343(d)–(g).)

To close out the Federal Prime Grant Award, all subawards must be closed. FEMA requirements for closing HMGP subawards, by project types, are outlined in the HMA Job Aids Closeout Toolkit: Checklist for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Closeout Toolkit: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Sub-award Closeout FAQs.

The pass-through entity (recipient) has primary responsibility for the closeout tasks associated with both the Federal Prime Grant Award and subawards. The recipient must conduct final inspections for projects, reconcile subrecipient expenditures, resolve negative audit findings, obtain final reports from subrecipients, and reconcile the closeout activities of subrecipients with all award requirements.

Available Tribal Resources

Tribal Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance

Hazard mitigation planning is the process state, tribal, territorial, and local governments use to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters and develop long-term strategies for protecting people, resources, and property in future hazard events. This planning process involves tribal members and other affected stakeholders and results in a mitigation plan with a strategy for breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. The mitigation plan also identifies mitigation actions and projects to implement the mitigation strategy. Under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390), state, tribal, and local governments are required to develop a hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance and FEMA grants to implement mitigation projects.

Last Updated: 
10/18/2018 - 11:13