Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that an additional $3.46 billion dollars will be allocated to states and a handful of tribes to invest in mitigation projects around the country. Each state is eligible to receive 4% of its COVID-related disaster costs to invest in projects that will further reduce risk from disasters. To this point, there has never been more funding available to state and local clients.

Each state is eligible to receive 4% of its COVID-related disaster costs to invest in projects that will further reduce risk from disasters. To this point, there has never been more funding available to state and local clients. ” Jay Harper

To put this spending in perspective, here is a breakdown of some of the dollar amounts allocated to states:

  • California: $484,383,864
  • District of Columbia: $17,379,665
  • Florida: $185,056,086
  • Louisiana: $78,005,056
  • Maryland: $93,289,392
  • Massachusetts: $110,760,576
  • New York: $378,128,107
  • North Carolina: $63,758,987
  • Oklahoma: $10,562,604
  • Texas: $666,134,283
  • Virginia: $62,005,907

These funds will have the same eligibility and restrictions as other projects under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. Unlike the BRIC program, these new funds are not competitive at the federal level, so this is a great opportunity to fund projects that will reduce the risk to life and property. Communities are encouraged to prioritize investments that benefit economically disadvantaged populations and communities disproportionally vulnerable to disasters. The new funding can be used to scope projects that can be implemented through other programs as well, such as BRIC.

Elizabeth River Living Shoreline 
The grant money can be spent on a wide range of mitigation projects, including green infrastructure or nature-based solution projects like the Elizabeth River Shoreline project in Norfolk, Virginia, pictured above.

Where Can the Money Be Spent?

So, from a practical perspective, what can governments do with this funding? 

The answer is pretty straightforward: a lot! 

The funding is very flexible, so states can be creative in their projects. The hazard mitigation assistance allows for innovation wherever a clear link to risk reduction can be made. Some potential uses for communities include:

  • Retrofitting or elevating government facilities and other critical infrastructure 
  • Flood risk reduction projects
  • Climate adaptation plans
  • Buy-outs for vulnerable communities
  • Addressing building codes 
  • Removal of brush in areas that are prone to wildfires and seismic retrofits for certain buildings in western states
We assisted the City of Beverly, Massachusetts, in applying for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds to prevent flooding at the Cummings Center 
We assisted the City of Beverly, Massachusetts, in applying for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds to prevent flooding at the Cummings Center—a 77-acre lakefront corporate campus—during a tidal or extreme rain event.

How do I Stay Informed?

If you're interested in learning more about the types of projects that may be funded under this program, check out FEMA's Mitigation Action Portfolio, which catalogues projects that FEMA has funded in the past.

Our team of mitigation experts can assist in administering these funds for state and municipal clients and in providing the engineering and architecture expertise to implement the projects. I am excited for the opportunities that this funding provides to make our communities more resilient and give stability across community lifelines in the years to come.