Announcement Triples Amount Available for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund Grant Program
WASHINGTON -- As FEMA launches 2024 as its “Year of Resilience”, the agency is announcing the second funding opportunity for the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant program to make communities safer from natural hazards. This program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides capitalization grants to eligible applicants nationwide. Applicants then offer low-interest loans directly to local communities to reduce their vulnerability to disasters, promote equity, foster greater community resilience and reduce disaster impacts. Due to the high level of interest in the first opportunity, the Biden-Harris Administration has tripled the amount of money available in this round of funding to $150 million.
“We listened to our emergency management partners from across the nation and using their guidance, fine-tuned this new program and increased the funding to allow for more under-resourced communities to benefit from this opportunity,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, these low-interest loans will fund even more mitigation projects at the local level, increasing our nation’s resilience to natural hazards and climate change.”
With a goal of removing barriers and increasing equitable access to this important source of funding, FEMA used feedback received during the first funding opportunity to streamline the application process. The agency also simplified materials -- all available on FEMA.gov -- to ensure that eligible applicants better understand how to submit information.
The Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund is part of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance program. These grant programs help communities increase resilience to extreme heat waves, drought, wildfires, floods and hurricanes by funding transformational projects that reduce risk to multiple hazards, support adaptation to future conditions and reduce the impact of all disasters on our nation’s most at-risk, underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Applicants eligible to receive revolving loan capitalization grants include states, the District of Columbia, territories and federally recognized tribes that have received a major disaster declaration. Local governments may use these low-interest loans provided by these entities for projects and activities to reduce the effects of natural hazards -- including the many fueled by climate change.
Requirements for projects funded through these grants include:
- Increasing the resilience of major economic sectors or critical national infrastructure and reducing the risk of harm to natural and built infrastructure.
- Involving a partnership between two or more eligible entities.
- Accounting for the regional impacts of hazards.
Revolving loans are intended to reach local governments most in need of financing assistance, including low-income geographic areas and underserved communities. FEMA encourages governments to take full advantage of the broad range of activities and projects eligible through this program and include mitigation measures that are not typically submitted under other programs.
For instance, the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF is unique in that it is the only FEMA grant program under which extreme heat is explicitly eligible. The program allows applicants to use loan funds for projects or activities that reduce the impacts of drought and prolonged intense heat. FEMA will not require applicants to submit a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) for projects.
Additional eligible project types under this program include activities that mitigate the impact of natural hazards, zoning and land use planning changes, and adoption and enforcement of modern building codes. Loans may also be used by local governments to satisfy a local government’s non-federal cost-share requirement for other FEMA grant programs.
Of the nearly $7 billion available in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to FEMA, $500 million is invested in the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program over five years to reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs. For the first year of the program, FEMA made $50 million available in capitalization grants. In addition, there are five additional FEMA mitigation and cyber security programs to receive multi-year Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
The Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF funding notice is available at Grants.gov. Eligible entities must apply for funding using the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants Management System (ND Grants). The application period opens Feb. 1, 2024. Applications must be received by 3 p.m. ET, April 30, 2024.