WASHINGTON — FEMA is expanding the eligibility for a new grant program that provides capitalization grants to fund revolving loans for resilience-related activities.
The Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund grant program has been expanded to give insular areas the same eligibility to apply as states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This means American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands are also now eligible to apply.
Additionally, any of the 21 federally recognized Tribal Nations that FEMA has identified as having received major disaster declarations are now directly eligible to apply for the fund. This is a result of the removal of the five-year window that initially limited the opportunity to only 15 Tribal Nations.
The changes, including the expansion of direct tribal access, are the result of the recent omnibus legislation signed by the President in December 2022. The bill included technical corrections expanding eligibility for the new program. All 574 federally recognized tribes are eligible to receive this funding through a state as well.
For the first year of the program, FEMA will make $50 million available in capitalization grants. The funding opportunity was originally announced Dec. 20, 2022. The agency will accept applications for the program beginning Feb. 1.
“FEMA remains committed to finding innovative approaches to help communities build resilience in the face of intensifying weather events driven by climate change,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The low-interest loans provided by the STORM program will help eligible states and tribes, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, finance disaster mitigation projects that will enhance their climate resiliency before disaster strikes.”
The Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund complements and strengthens FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant portfolio through which multiple grant programs support projects at the local government level to increase the nation’s resilience to natural hazards and climate change. Loans may be used to help local governments satisfy the non-federal cost share requirements of these grant programs, for which they are required to provide a cost-share of up to 10%.
Initial funding will focus on both increasing public understanding of the program and working with participating communities to learn how to enhance the program in future iterations.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance helps communities increase resilience to extreme heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood and hurricanes by funding transformational projects that reduce risk to multiple hazards, support adaptation to future conditions and lessen the impact of all disasters on our nation’s most underserved residents and disadvantaged communities.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $6.8 billion in additional funding for FEMA to invest in community-wide mitigation to reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs in the face of more frequent and severe weather events.
In addition to this funding, President Biden has provided even more funding to FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs since taking office. In particular, the President more than doubled last year’s funding to approximately $3 billion for Fiscal Year 2022 grant applications for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs. Both programs also include significant funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
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). Applications must be received by 3 p.m. ET, April 28, 2023.