New funding opportunities will target disadvantaged communities while creating well-paying jobs
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing three pre-disaster funding opportunities to help states and communities prepare for major disasters that claim lives and livelihoods and devastate communities and communities. local businesses. These programs will allow communities to request nearly $ 5 billion to increase their preparedness for climate-related extreme weather events and other disasters, and improve their ability to recover from such events. In particular, FEMA announces the following:
- $ 1 billion in funding for its Building resilient infrastructure and communities (BRIC) program for the fiscal year 2021. This new program, launched in 2020, provides grants to states, local communities, tribes and territories to proactively reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters before they occur, and do so. make and the nation more resilient. This year, the Biden administration is doubling funding for the program and implementing a number of changes to improve funding opportunities for tribes and disadvantaged communities, including changing the program’s selection criteria and providing a higher allocation. important to the tribes.
- $ 3.46 billion in funding for its Risk Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP). The 59 states, tribes and territories that have received a declaration of major disaster in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive 4% of the disaster costs related to their declaration of investment in mitigation projects that will help to better prepare and protect communities against natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. The influx of funding will help communities prioritize mitigation needs for a more resilient future, including underserved communities who are often the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
- $ 160 million in funding for its Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) subsidy program for fiscal year 2021 to reduce or eliminate the risk of recurrent flood damage to homes and buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
These new funding opportunities support President’s Build Back Better program. This program includes historic investments to make our aging infrastructure more resilient in the face of increasingly severe floods, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and other risks. It also supports the Presidential Justice Initiative40, which has set itself the goal of delivering at least 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy to underprivileged communities. Through these investments, we will advance environmental justice and equity, reduce the vulnerability of communities to disasters, promote individual and community security, strengthen our capacity as a nation to adapt to changing conditions, and reduce the burden that these changes put pressure on our first responders.
The high costs of extreme weather events and climate-related disasters
Climate change is a major factor in the increase in the frequency, duration and severity of extreme weather and climate disasters. Millions of Americans feel the effects of these extreme events when their roads and schools are flooded and hospitals lose their electricity. In recent years, the frequency of extreme weather events and climate-related disasters with losses exceeding $ 1 billion has skyrocketed. From 2000 to 2009, these billion dollar disasters occurred 6 times a year on average. From 2010 to 2020, that number rose to an average of 13 events per year, causing more than $ 975 billion in disaster damage over the decade. Last year alone, the United States faced $ 100 billion in damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure from disasters. Annual deaths and monetary losses resulting from these events have more than doubled.
Chronic underinvestment in US infrastructure has impacted our resilience. Failure to invest properly in our transportation systems can lead to service disruption, unsafe travel conditions, serious damage and increased maintenance and operating costs, impairments that disproportionately burden urban communities, rural and tribal disadvantaged. Underinvestment in resilient power grids and water supply systems can leave people without electricity and clean water, create immediate danger, cause substantial economic disruption, and prevent rapid recovery from disasters.
Fortunately, we can reduce these human and infrastructure costs through smart investments before the disaster. Studies have consistently shown that FEMA’s risk mitigation investments pay off and result in communities that are safer and more resilient to natural hazards, including the impacts of climate change. Many of these investments will also create jobs in the construction and improvement of our infrastructure. An analysis of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act showed that investments in community resilience generate 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars spent and an economic return of $ 2.40 for every $ 1 invested.
A whole-of-government approach to resilience and equity
The Biden administration is taking steps to ensure underserved communities will have access to necessary funds for these programs. As pilot programs of the Justice Initiative40, the BRIC and FMA programs will immediately begin to improve benefits for disadvantaged communities.
For example, FEMA has refined the selection criteria for BRIC program projects to send more benefits to those who need them most. It will double the number of communities that can receive direct non-financial technical assistance in FY2021, with hands-on support for project development and other needs that help level the playing field for up to 20. disadvantaged communities. In accordance with Presidential Decree 13985 of President Biden, the Advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government, FEMA is also conducting an equity assessment for all of its risk mitigation grant programs to overcome barriers and expand access to disadvantaged communities. In addition, the FMA program will use the Social Vulnerability Index to prioritize funding in disadvantaged communities and use mapping assessment tools at census tract level.
In addition to today’s FEMA announcements, we are coordinating cross-agency efforts as part of the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to increase resilience, secure funding and meet the needs of communities across the country. countries, including through task forces such as the DHS Department of Homeland Security’s Climate Change Action Group. By Executive Decree 14008, the Dealing with the climate crisis at home and abroad, the president created the National Climate Working Group. The working group established five interagency working groups to help communities address resilience strategies related to drought, forest fires, extreme heat, coastal hazards and flooding. In addition, key agencies are supporting climate action by preparing plans to define strategies to improve climate resilience. By virtue of decrees 14030, Financial risk linked to the climate, and 14008, agencies prepare climate finance risk reports, improve climate predictions, and provide information products to the public.