Individual homeowners do not apply directly to FEMA for safe room funding. FEMA provides Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) funding to eligible states, tribes, and territories that, in turn, provide the funding to local governments to assist in reducing overall risk to people and property.
To find out about potential federal funding for safe rooms, project eligibility and financial assistance questions, please contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO).
Visit Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) for information on grants, or call the HMA Helpline at (866) 222-3580.
Your State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) can advise you on what information must be provided for your project to be considered for funding, as well as any applicable federal, state and local design requirements. Your SHMO will also be able to provide you with information on funding sources.
Types of Funding
Funding opportunities are available for individuals wishing to build a residential safe room. For project eligibility and financial assistance questions, please contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO). Your SHMO can tell you what information must be provided for your project to be considered for funding, as well as any applicable federal, state and local design requirements. Your SHMO can also provide you with information on funding sources.
Community Development Block Grant Funds
On December 3, 2003, the President signed into law the Tornado Shelters Act (Public Law 108-146), which amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, authorizing communities to use community development block grant funds to construct tornado-safe shelters in manufactured home parks.
To be eligible, a shelter must be located in a neighborhood or park that contains at least 20 units, consists predominately of low- and moderate-income households and is in a state where a tornado has occurred within the current year or last three years. The shelter must comply with tornado-appropriate safety and construction standards, be large enough to accommodate all members of the park/neighborhood and be located in a park/neighborhood that has a warning siren.
Community development block grant funds are funded through HUD.
Federal Housing Administration Mortgage-Insured Financing
On January 14, 2000, as part of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) continuing efforts to be responsive to public safety concerns, HUD began allowing borrowers to include windstorm shelters as an eligible work item for FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loans and FHA 203(b) financed new construction (see HUD Disaster Recovery Assistance).
Shelters financed with FHA-insured mortgages must be constructed consistent with the guidelines presented in FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funds
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) assists states and local communities in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster declaration. As of November 1, 2004, all communities must have an approved hazard mitigation plan in place to remain eligible for HMGP funding. HMGP grants can be used to fund projects that provide protection to both public as well as private properties.
See our Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants (PDM) and Safe Rooms fact sheet for more information, including roles and responsibilities associated with the program and details regarding the HMGP and the construction of community and residential safe rooms.
Projects that are eligible under the HMGP grant include (but are not limited to):
- Acquiring and demolishing or relocating structures from hazard-prone areas
- Retrofitting structures to protect them from floods, high winds, earthquakes or other natural hazards
- Constructing residential and community shelters in tornado-prone areas
FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The state or local match does not have to be cash; in-kind services or materials may be used. Federal funding under the HMGP is based on 7.5 percent of the federal funds spent on the Public and Individual Assistance programs (minus administrative expenses) for each disaster. Eligible applicants must apply for the HMGP through the State Hazard Mitigation Officer.
See All Hazard Mitigation Assistance
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program Funds
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Funds provide both planning and project funding to eligible communities. PDM project funding is nationally competitive; there is no "base" amount guaranteed to each state. A national priority is placed on projects that address National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) repetitive loss properties and a benefit cost analysis is required for each proposed project.
Projects are awarded priority based on the state's analysis and resulting ranking and on factors such as cost-effectiveness, addressing critical facilities and the percent of the population that benefits from the project. FEMA funds up to 75 percent of the cost of the project or up to 90 percent for small, impoverished communities. There is a $3 million cap on the federal share of the cost per project.
Learn More About Pre-Disaster Mitigation Funds