WASHINGTON -- Today, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and White House Infrastructure Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President Mitch Landrieu announced that as part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, FEMA is making $1.8 billion available for two grant programs designed to help communities increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change, including increasingly frequent and extreme weather events.
The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) annual grant program is making $1 billion available for projects that protect people and infrastructure from natural hazards and the effects of climate change. The Flood Mitigation Assistance program is making $800 million available for projects that mitigate flood risks facing homes and communities across the nation. The funding for these two programs has been greatly increased thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and this year, the landmark legislation will contribute over $1 billion to these critical climate infrastructure and resilience programs.
Since taking office, President Biden has continued to provide additional funding to FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs, increasing them from $700 million when he took office to $1.8 billion for FY 23. This increased funding allows FEMA to expand its geographic scope in funding selections and protect more of our nation’s communities that are most in harm’s way from the effects of climate change and extreme weather. Overall, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides FEMA nearly $7 billion to help communities proactively reduce their vulnerability to flood, hurricanes, drought, wildfires, extreme heat and other climate-fueled hazards.
“Across this country, communities are getting hit by more frequent and extreme severe weather events – from drought, wildfires, floods and extreme heat,” said Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “That’s exactly why under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re delivering the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history. Today’s announcement is part of the President’s commitment to keep every American safe and ensure that we are building back better than ever before.”
“As climate change impacts the health, safety and security of more and more Americans, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in communities to strengthen their resilience against this growing threat,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs provide vital lifelines to communities -- including those that are most vulnerable and marginalized -- funding projects that mitigate the risks associated with climate-driven extreme weather events and building a sustainable foundation for growth and prosperity. President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is empowering communities to take the necessary steps to keep more Americans safe.”
“The BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs are some of the most important resilience grant opportunities in the federal government. This funding helps communities nationwide design and implement transformational projects to become more resilient to the intensifying and increasingly frequent impacts of climate change,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the funding provided to FEMA by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we were able to infuse even more money to ensure state, local, tribal and territorial partners can continue to receive meaningful resources to achieve their resilience goals, especially for those communities most in need of support.”
This resilience funding opportunity follows recent historic steps the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to advance climate resilience for communities across the country. This past year, FEMA announced nearly $3 billion in FY22 selections for 748 resilience projects across 55 states and territories, as well as the District of Columbia, through grants provided by BRIC and FMA. And on Sept. 28, 2023, President Biden hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, which brought together representatives from over 25 states, territories and Tribal Nations to uplift the work of climate resilience practitioners and lay out a bold vision for a climate resilient Nation, including through the release of the National Climate Resilience Framework. This funding opportunity is an immediate step the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to deliver on that vision.
In addition, this summer saw record breaking heat across much of the United States. As part of its inaugural #SummerReady campaign promoting preparedness and resilience against extreme heat, FEMA held two webinars attended by nearly 600 stakeholders each session discussing how FEMA grants can be used to help to promote resilience against extreme heat events. Communities may consider projects that include cooling stations, cool roofs, cool pavements, using green infrastructure and nature-based solutions and green walls to address extreme heat effects.
Continued Efforts to Ensure Equitable Access to Funding
As part of the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, the BRIC and FMA programs aim to deliver 40% of their overall benefits to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, overburdened by pollution and underserved. FEMA exceeded this goal in its most recent year of funding, delivering 53% of benefits from FY22 BRIC and FMA awards to Justice40 communities.
FEMA is also providing additional financial and technical support to help overburdened and underserved communities build resilience. For instance:
- Using money from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FEMA is providing up to 90% federal cost share for FMA in disadvantaged communities, relative to a standard cost share of 75%.
- Designated Community Disaster Resilience Zones (CDRZs) are eligible for up to 90% federal cost share for BRIC, relative to a standard cost share of 75%. FEMA announced the first CDRZ designations in September.
Completing a Benefit-Cost Analysis may be a hurdle for some communities when applying for grants. FEMA has established streamlined cost-effectiveness determination methods for some hazard mitigation projects and project types to facilitate the application process while still ensuring all selected projects are cost effective.
- Local governments may instead provide a narrative for projects under $1 million that demonstrates the benefits and cost-effectiveness of the project. FEMA will help calculate the BCA for these communities.
- FEMA reduced the discount rate it has for pre-calculated benefits available online on many projects to aid in the application process.
- FEMA continues to not require a Benefit-Cost Analysis as a condition to apply for an Economically Disadvantaged Rural Community, federally recognized tribal government, or a subapplicant with a hazard mitigation project within or primarily benefiting a Community Disaster Resilience Zone. FEMA will review the hazard mitigation project subapplications that are eligible for selection and may assist such communities with developing a BCA.
FEMA is further expanding BRIC Direct Technical Assistance with a goal to add at least 80 more communities to the current 74 local jurisdictions nationwide. Direct Technical Assistance helps communities in need identify mitigation needs and develop tools to successfully apply for resilience funding through holistic hazard mitigation planning and project support.
Communities interested in submitting a request for assistance may do so from Oct. 16, 2023, through Feb. 29, 2024. FEMA will publish a new form online to streamline and simplify the submission process.
More Detail on FY23 Funding Opportunities
As in years past, FY23 Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grants will be targeted towards projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
FY23 BRIC grants will be awarded to advance several different resilience objectives:
- Commitment to Nationwide Resilience: As part of the administration’s commitment to building nationwide resilience to the climate and natural hazards facing us today and those we anticipate in the future, BRIC sets aside grant funds for U.S. states, tribes and territories.
- In FY23, funds for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have been set-aside for a maximum of $2 million each totaling more than $112 million.
- FEMA has set-aside $50 million exclusively for federally recognized tribes in FY23. The combined cost of the applicant’s capability- and capacity building activities under this set-aside must not exceed $2 million.
- National Competition: Each year, FEMA holds a national competition for large projects to enhance infrastructure resilience.
- Approximately $701 million is available through the FY23 national competition. FEMA will make selections based on the highest composite score. Selection criteria includes incentives for projects benefitting disadvantaged communities, incorporation of nature-based solutions and adoption of the latest building codes. Examples of these funded large projects from previous years are available on FEMA.gov.
- [NEW] Building Code Adoption and Enforcement: New this year and in alignment with the Biden-Harris administration’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, FEMA is setting aside an additional amount of funding dedicated to building codes activities that make structures more resilient to seismic activity as well as climate-fueled extreme weather.
- In FY23, funds for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have been set aside for a maximum of $2 million each specifically committed for building code activities. This funding is on top of the state and territorial “Commitment to Nationwide Resilience” funding outlined above.
- FEMA has set aside up to $25 million exclusively for federally recognized tribes in FY23 for building code activities. This funding is on top of the tribal “Commitment to Nationwide Resilience” funding outlined above.
The funding opportunities for BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance grants will be available on Grants.gov.
The application period opens on Oct. 16, 2023. Eligible applicants must apply for funding using FEMA Grants Outcomes, FEMA’s grants management system. Applications must be submitted in the portal no later than 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 29, 2024. FEMA will not consider applications after this deadline. The application deadlines are for applicants only. Local governments should consult with their state, tribal or territorial agency to confirm deadlines to submit subapplications.
FEMA has planned three live webinars for governments to learn more about preparing applications. Subjects will include technical and qualitative criteria, application pitfalls and repetitive loss properties.
Visit FEMA.gov for more information about Hazard Mitigation Assistance.