The federally-funded Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs provide significant opportunities to reduce, minimize, or eliminate potential damages to property and infrastructure from natural hazard events. Funding for hazard mitigation plans and projects can reduce overall risks to the population, structures and infrastructure, while also reducing the reliance on taxpayer-funded federal disaster assistance for disaster recovery.
Individual homeowners and business owners may not apply directly to FEMA. Eligible local governments may apply on their behalf. All eligible applicants, including special districts, must have a FEMA-approved Local Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan in place prior to applying for funding.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs are not intended as a source of funding for repair, replacement or deferred maintenance activities, but are designed to assist sub-applicants in implementing long-term, cost-effective improvements that will reduce, minimize or eliminate risk to people and property from the effects of natural hazards. Projects that address operation, deferred or future maintenance, repairs or replacement (without a change in the level of protection provided) of existing structures, facilities, or infrastructure (e.g., dredging, debris removal, replacement of obsolete utility systems, bridges and facility repair) are not eligible mitigation grant activities.
What is Hazard Mitigation?
Hazard mitigation describes the actions that reduce or eliminate long-term risks caused by natural or man-made disasters. Hazard mitigation is an important phase in the cycle of emergency management, helping to break the repetitive cycle of damage, repair, and damage again. Mitigation plans and projects are an improvement to the environment or infrastructure that currently exists that will allow a community to be more resilient to disasters. By implementing hazard mitigation actions now, state and local governments can build stronger, safer and smarter communities and reduce future injuries and future damage.
What Type of Work is Eligible?
Stormwater, drainage and culvert improvements, flood control, property acquisition, slope stabilization, infrastructure protection, seismic and wind retrofits, structure elevations, etc. All proposed project applications must include a formal Benefit-Cost Analysis (using FEMA-approved BCA V6.0 software) to document the project’s cost-effectiveness. Planning, HMGP 5% Initiative applications, and projects that meet pre-calculated benefits do not have this BCA requirement. Community participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may also be a requirement for sub-applicant and project eligibility.
What are the Benefits of Hazard Mitigation?
Hazard mitigation initiatives help communities to:
- Reduce the loss of life, property, essential services, critical facilities, and economic hardship before or after a natural disaster occurs;
- Reduce short- and long-term disaster recovery and reconstruction expenses;
- Increase cooperation and communication within community departments and among other stakeholders through the planning process; and
- Increase potential for government funding for disaster recovery and reconstruction projects.
What is the Grant Cost Share?
These are reimbursement-based grant programs. Sub-applicants must also commit to the non-federal share of the proposed application cost; this is generally 25% of the total estimated project cost. In-kind services are allowable as part of the non-federal match. For some projects under the FMA grant, properties may qualify for up to 100% federal share.
What are the Tools of Hazard Mitigation?
- Land use planning and regulation of the development in hazard-prone areas, such as prohibiting new construction in a floodplain, along a coastline
- Enforcement of building codes and environmental regulations
- Public safety measures like regular maintenance of roadways, culverts, and dams
- Acquisition of properties in hazard prone areas, such as purchasing buildings located in a floodplain
- Retrofitting existing structures and improving new construction
Additional Resources for
Where Can I Find Additional Resources?
Information on the current HMA Guidance and Addendum, fact sheets, job aids, data supplements, policies, environmental and historic preservation (EHP) guidance, and benefit-costs analysis guidance can be found in our Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs Guidance section. Formal grant briefings and technical assistance opportunities are available prior to application deadlines.