FEMA Developing New Grant Program

Disaster Response

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) recently began to roll out its new grant program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC). BRIC replaces the existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation program and is a result of amendments made to the Stafford Act by the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA).

Through the BRIC program, FEMA hopes to promote a national culture of preparedness and public safety by encouraging investments to protect communities and infrastructure, and strengthening national mitigation capabilities to foster resilience.

To do so, the BRIC program will shift the focus for a significant amount of federal disaster spending from reactive (post-disaster) toward proactive investments in risk mitigation and community resilience that would occur before any disaster happens. BRIC is designed to support a range of hazard mitigation projects undertaken by states, local communities, tribes and territories.

Home builders, developers or remodelers may be impacted when those projects aim to elevate or otherwise mitigate the risk to individual residential structures or local infrastructure that serve their developments.

On March 27, FEMA launched a new webpage with background information on the program and a timeline for its implementation. The site also includes access to the Summary of Stakeholder Feedback document that reviews the comments FEMA received during its 2019 stakeholder engagement process.

On April 10, FEMA published the proposed BRIC policy, which establishes the operational parameters for the program including eligibility criteria for applicants and projects. Public comments will be accepted on the policy through May 11, 2020.

NAHB staff is reviewing the draft policy. Because the draft focuses more on overall principles and additional details for how any funding may be used will be provided in the subsequent Notice Of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcements that will be released annually, it is not yet clear if or how it may be used by NAHB members. The draft policy does, however, provide some clarity on the minimum conditions that mitigation projects must meet to be eligible for funding.

FEMA anticipates finalizing the policy and releasing a NOFO by fall 2020. This timing is subject to change. To learn more, visit fema.gov/bric.

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