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Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions

This page identifies commonly frequently asked questions for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

What is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a Major Disaster Declaration. Authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and administered by FEMA, HMGP was created to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. The program enables mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. For communities without FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plans, the program also provides funding to help develop plans.

What types of projects can be funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds may be used to fund projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem, for example, elevation of a home to reduce the risk of flood damage as opposed to buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood. In addition, a project’s potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project. Funds may be used to protect either public or private property, or to purchase property that has been subjected to, or is in danger of, repetitive damage. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, acquisition of real property for willing sellers and demolition or relocation of buildings to convert the property to open space use; retrofitting structures and facilities to minimize damage from high winds, earthquake, flood, wildfire, or other natural hazards; elevation of flood-prone structures; development and initial implementation of vegetative management programs; minor flood control projects that do not duplicate the flood prevention activities of other federal agencies; localized flood control projects, such as certain ring levees and floodwall systems, that are designed specifically to protect critical facilities; and post-disaster building code–related activities that support building code officials during the reconstruction process.

Who is eligible to apply?

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding is available, when authorized under a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, in the areas of the state, tribal lands, or territory requested by the Governor or Tribal Executive. At the state, tribe, or territory’s request, HMGP may also be available statewide. Eligible applicants include state, territorial, and local governments, Federally-recognized tribes or tribal organizations, and certain nonprofit organizations. Individual homeowners and businesses may not apply directly to the program; however, a community may apply on their behalf.

How do I apply for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

Following a disaster declaration, the state, tribe, or territory will advertise that Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding is available to fund mitigation projects in the area. Those interested in applying for HMGP funding should contact their local government to begin the application process. Local governments should contact their State Hazard Mitigation Officer.

How can I get more information about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

For more information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer or the FEMA Regional Office in your area.

How much money is available in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

The amount of funding available for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) under a particular disaster declaration is limited. The program may provide a state, tribe, or territory with up to 15 percent of the total disaster grants awarded by FEMA. States that meet higher mitigation planning criteria may qualify for a higher percentage under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The state, tribe, territory, or recipient must provide a 25 percent match, which include a combination of cash and in-kind sources. Funding from other federal sources cannot be used for the 25 percent share with one exception: Funding provided to states, tribes, or territories under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can be used to meet the non-federal share requirement.

What is the deadline for applying for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds?

Applications for mitigation projects are encouraged as soon as possible after the disaster occurs so that opportunities to do mitigation are not lost during reconstruction. The state, tribe, or territory will set a deadline for application submittal. You should contact your State/Tribal/Territorial Hazard Mitigation Officer for specific application deadlines.

What are the hazard mitigation planning requirements for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program eligibility?

In accordance with 44 CFR Part 201, state and territorial agencies and Federally-recognized tribes applying for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding must have a FEMA-approved (Standard or Enhanced) Mitigation Plan at the time of the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, and at the time HMGP funding is obligated to the recipient or subrecipient. There is no mitigation plan requirement for development of a new mitigation plan. All subapplicants for HMGP must have a FEMA-approved local or tribal mitigation plan at the time of obligation of grant funds for mitigation projects.

State and tribal agencies are eligible subapplicants under HMGP, and a state/tribal/territorial mitigation plan under 44 CFR Part 201 is required as a condition of the agency receiving assistance as defined in 44 CFR Section 201.4. State/tribal/territorial agencies with assets identified in the mitigation plan meet the mitigation planning requirement. Private nonprofit subapplicants are eligible for HMGP but do not have mitigation plan requirements as a condition of subapplicant eligibility.

What types of mitigation planning–related activities are eligible under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

Eligible activities that can be funded as mitigation planning–related activities under HMGP include, but are not limited to:

  • Updating or enhancing sections of the current FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan, such as:
    • The risk and vulnerability assessment based on new information, including supporting studies, such as economic analyses
    • The mitigation strategy, specifically strengthening the linkage to mitigation action implementation, with emphasis on available Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) project grant funding.
    • The risk assessment and/or mitigation strategy, green building, smart growth principles, or historic properties and cultural resources information.
  • Integrating information from hazard mitigation plans, specifically risk assessment or mitigation strategies, with other planning efforts, such as:
    • Disaster recovery strategy (pre- or post-), preparedness, or response plans
    • Comprehensive (e.g., land use, master) plans
    • Capital improvement or economic development plans
    • Resource management/conservation plans (e.g., stormwater, open space)
    • Other long-term community planning initiatives (e.g., transportation, housing)
  • Building capability through delivery of technical assistance and training
  • Evaluating adoption and/or implementation of ordinances that reduce risk and/or increase resilience

What are the minimum project criteria?

There are five areas you must consider when determining the eligibility of a proposed project.

  • Does your project conform to your state/tribe/territory's hazard mitigation plan?
  • Does your project provide a beneficial impact on the disaster area?
  • Does your application meet the environmental requirements?
  • Does your project solve a problem independently?
  • Is your project cost-effective?

How are potential projects selected and identified?

The state/tribal/territory Administrative Plan governs how projects are selected for funding. However, proposed projects must meet certain minimum criteria. These criteria are designed to ensure that the most cost-effective and appropriate projects are selected for funding. Both the law and the regulations require that the projects are part of an overall mitigation strategy for the disaster area. The state, tribe, or territory prioritizes and selects project applications developed and submitted by local jurisdictions. The state, tribe, or territory forwards applications consistent with their mitigation planning objectives to FEMA for eligibility review. Funding for this grant program is limited, and states, tribes, territories, and local communities must make difficult decisions as to the most effective use of grant funds.

How long will it take to get my project approved?

It is important for applicants to understand the approval process. Once eligible projects are selected by the state, they are forwarded to the FEMA Regional Office where they are reviewed to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations.

Why didn't I receive Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds when some of my neighbors did?

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is administered by the state, tribe, or territory, which prioritizes and selects project applications developed and submitted by local jurisdictions. They forward applications consistent with their mitigation planning objectives to FEMA for eligibility review. Although individuals may not apply directly to the state, tribe, or territory for assistance, local governments may sponsor an application on their behalf. Funding for the grant program is limited, and states, tribes, territories, and local communities must make difficult decisions as to the most effective use of available grant funds.

Will I be forced to sell my home if my community is granted funding for a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program acquisition project?

Acquisition projects funded under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) are voluntary and you are under no obligation to sell your home. Communities consider other options when preparing projects, but state, tribal, territorial, or local officials may determine that the most effective mitigation measure in a location is the acquisition of properties and the removal of residents and structures from the hazard area. Acquisition projects are based on the principle of fair compensation for property. Property acquisitions present owners with an opportunity to recoup a large part of their investment in property that probably has lost some, if not most, of its value due to damage. But, it will not compensate a homeowner for all emotional and financial losses.

Will someone be able to rebuild and make a profit on the property I sell in a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program acquisition project?

Under the Stafford Act, any land purchased with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds must be restricted to open space, recreational, and wetlands management uses in perpetuity. Most often, a local government takes responsibility, but even if a state, tribal, territorial, or federal agency takes ownership of the land, the deed restrictions still apply.

Last Updated: 
05/31/2017 - 09:07