ORLANDO, Fla. – FEMA has approved $1,052,372 for the State of Florida to help Miami-Dade County defray the costs of retrofitting the Palm Court public housing building to resist wind damage in future storms.
The building sustained significant damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) has approved the funds to reimburse the county for the cost of installing wind-resistant, high-impact windows on the six-story structure, which houses elderly and disabled tenants, and installing a backup generator. Wind protections also are installed at openings such as vents, louvers and exhaust fans. The project increases the building’s protection from future windstorm events while providing power to vulnerable residents in the aftermath of a disaster.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is an important source of federal disaster assistance. HMGP funds may become available following the president’s declaration of a major disaster, and help strengthen communities by improving buildings, facilities and infrastructure that people use every day. A 2018 report from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that one dollar spent on hazard mitigation will save more than six dollars of recovery and rebuilding costs.
Generally, HMGP may provide a state, tribe or territory with additional grants up to 15 percent of the total disaster grants awarded by FEMA for a federally declared disaster. States such as Florida that meet higher mitigation planning criteria may qualify for a higher percentage.
Florida has a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan, making the state eligible for HMGP funding not to exceed 20 percent of the estimated total amount of money spent by FEMA on disaster grants in the Hurricane Irma disaster. From this amount, HMGP reimburses the state up to 75 percent of eligible costs for mitigation projects. The remaining amount comes from other sources such as state and local assets and a combination of cash and in-kind sources.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.