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FEMA Offering Nearly $2 Billion for Climate Resilience Projects

Oct 16, 2023 | Public | 0 comments

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it 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. Notably, the International Code Council (ICC) has praised FEMA for including a “historic investment in resilient building codes” as part the latest funding opportunity.

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. FEMA said the funding for both programs in fiscal year 2023 (FY23) has been greatly increased, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“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.”

Funding Details

As in years past, FY23 Flood Mitigation Assistance 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.

BRIC grants will be awarded to advance several different resilience objectives:

  • Commitment to Nationwide Resilience: As part of the Biden administration’s goal to build nationwide resilience to climate and natural hazards, 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.
  • Building Code Adoption and Enforcement: New this year and in alignment with the Biden-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 also on top of the tribal “Commitment to Nationwide Resilience” funding outlined above.

ICC Praise

The ICC called this a “significant departure” from earlier BRIC cycles, noting that more than 10% of the FY23 BRIC funding is earmarked specifically for code-related projects, totaling $137 million. For comparison, of the awards made during the first three BRIC cycles (FY20, FY21, and FY22), only $7.8 million was spread across 40 code-related awards. Prior BRIC code project awards supported the adoption of the 2021 International Codes (I-Codes), training, building department accreditation, and digital solutions to improve building department services.

“The adoption and effective implementation of hazard-resistant codes is the most impactful mitigation measure,” said ICC CEO Dominic Sims. “These resources will ensure that communities across the U.S. can bring these strategies to bear, protecting countless residents from ever-increasing hazard risk. The Code Council stands ready to support communities in leveraging this unprecedented level of funding.”

Applications

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.

The post FEMA Offering Nearly $2 Billion for Climate Resilience Projects appeared first on Facilities Management Advisor.

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