Congressional Research Service Report: “Recent Increases in FEMA Risk Mitigation Assistance Funding”

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WASHINGTON, November 5 (TNSRep) – The Congress Research Service has published the following report (n ° IN11733) on November 4, 2021, titled “Recent Increases in Funding for FEMA Risk Mitigation Assistance” by Diane P. Horn, flood insurance and emergency management analyst:

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introduction

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced that $ 3.46 billion Funding for the Risk Mitigation Grants Program will be made available to States, Territories and Tribes (STTs) with major disaster declarations for the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA also announced an increase in funding for the Building a resilient infrastructure and communities (BRIC) for fiscal year 2021. In addition, additional funding for the BRIC and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program (FMA) may be available through the Investment in infrastructure and the Employment Act (IIJA).

The COVID-19 Risk Mitigation and Disaster Grants Program

Assistance from the Risk Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP) is triggered by a President’s declaration of major disaster or a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) under Stafford Act, awarded on a scale rover as a percentage of estimated total federal disaster assistance:

* up to 15% of the first $ 2 billion,

* up to 10% for amounts between $ 2 billion and 10 billion dollars, and

* up to 7.5% for amounts between 10 billion dollars and $ 35.333 billion.

STT with a FEMA-The enhanced risk mitigation plan approved before the disaster is instead eligible for HMGP funding of 20% of the total amount of disaster assistance.

STTs can use HMGP funding for projects to mitigate any type of natural hazard and for any eligible activity that reduces risk and builds resilience. HMGP funding does not have to be used for the particular type of incident or disaster for which it was allocated. For example, funds allocated for wildfires in one county could be used for flood mitigation activities in another county, if eligible.

The 50 states, five territories, the District of Colombia, and three tribes have applied for HMGP funding for the COVID-19 pandemic. These requests had been under consideration for March 2020. FEMA announced on August 5, 2021, that HMGP funding will be made available to each STT that has received a major disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic for 4% of the eligible relief costs (see Figure 1). This funding is not limited to pandemic mitigation. Four percent is a lower percentage than that usually granted for HMPG, but the total funding of $ 3.46 billion represents the largest amount of HMGP funding in a single fiscal year. (The highest amount was previously $ 2.29 billion during fiscal year 2005.)

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[See link at end of text for Figure 1. Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funding for Major Disaster Declarations Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic]

Source: FEMA, HMGP allowances for COVID-19 reports.

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Pre-disaster mitigation

Over the years, post-disaster mitigation such as HMGP has received much more funding than pre-disaster mitigation. GAO found that most of the risk mitigation funds incurred by FEMA 2010 while 2018 was for post-disaster mitigation. About the $ 11.3 billion committed during this period, 88% were for post-disaster grants through HMGP and PA. FEMA competitive pre-disaster grant programs, the FMA and the pre-disaster mitigation grant program (the predecessor to the BRIC) accounted for about 12% of the total; see figure 2.

The BRIC program began in fiscal 2020, following the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, which authorized the president to set aside the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), for each declaration of major disaster, an amount equal to 6% of the total funding granted under seven sections of the Stafford Act. Based on historical disaster expenditure, FEMA the expectation was that this set-aside would be $ 300-500 million per year; however, reports of major COVID-19-related disasters have resulted in additional funding. From July 31, 2021, $ 1.635 billion was set aside in DRF for pre-disaster mitigation.

A total of $ 500 million was available for the BRIC in FY2020. The program was oversubscribed, with 53 states and territories requesting more $ 3.6 billion. The Funding Opportunity Notice (NOFO) for BRIC FY2021 has been posted on August 9, 2021, with a total of $ 1 billion available:

* state / territory attribution: $ 56 million;

* tribal set-aside: $ 25 million;

* national competition: $ 919 million.

The priorities for the 2021 financial year encourage

* natural disaster risk reduction activities that mitigate risks to public infrastructure and disadvantaged communities;

* projects that mitigate risks for one or more community lifelines;

* projects integrating solutions based on nature;

* projects that improve climate resilience; and

* projects proposed by applicants who adopt and enforce mandatory building codes based on the latest published editions of building codes.

BRIC FY2021 will promote equity by prioritizing 40% of funding to disadvantaged communities, in line with EO 14008 and the Justice Initiative40.

The IIJA would appropriate $ 1 billion for BRIC, with $ 200 million for each of the 2022 to 2026 fiscal years. This funding would be in addition to the set-aside of 6%.

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[See link at end of text for Figure 2. Funding for Pre-Disaster Mitigation FY1997-FY2021]

Sources: CRS Report RL34537, FEMA Pre-disaster mitigation program: overview and issues; FEMA, National pre-disaster mitigation fund, Report for the financial year 2017 to Congress, September 1, 2017, p. 4; FEMA Funding Opportunity Notice for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants Program; FEMA Funding Opportunity Notice for BRICs FY2020 and FY2021.

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Flood mitigation assistance

FEMA also operates a Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants (FMA) program, available only to communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). $ 200 million was available for FMA in FY2020. FEMA received 236 requests from FMAs from 30 states and territories, requesting that the total project costs exceed $ 477 million. Twenty-six states did not submit FMA requests.

NOFO FY2021 for FMA has been posted on August 9, 2021, with $ 160 million available in FY2021. FMA will prioritize 40% of funding for disadvantaged communities, and use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) at a threshold of 0.7501 or higher as a priority scoring criterion.

The IIJA would appropriate $ 3.5 billion for FMA, with $ 700 million for each of fiscal years 2022 to 2026, and would provide a 90% federal cost share for a property: (1) that is located in a census tract with a CDC SVI score of at least 0.5001; or (2) which serves as the primary residence for persons whose household income does not exceed 100% of the median income of the applicable region. This would represent the first time that funding has been allocated to the FMA, which was previously funded by NFIP policyholders.

None of this additional funding for risk mitigation (HMGP, BRIC, or FMA) requires risk-resistant or energy-efficient codes and standards. These standards can particularly benefit low-income households and communities.

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Check out the numbers and report at https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IN/IN11733


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