Ft. Jackson, LA., Barrels of toxic material taken from the fort wait for transport to a disposal site. The barrels were thrown into the fort during Hurricane Katrina. Patsy Lynch/FEMA

$1.8 billion available to states, cities to prepare and prevent disasters

April 19, 2024

The Department of Homeland Security will send $1.8 billion in preparedness grants for states, cities, tribes and territories to prepare, prevent and respond to disasters and terrorism.

For Fiscal Year 2024, Congress reduced the funds in each of the preparedness grants by 10% over the previous year. In FY 2023, DHS sent more than $2 billion to state, local, tribal territorial governments, transportation authorities and nonprofit organizations.

“After extensive consultation with grantees leading up to this announcement, DHS is focused on the need to invest in high-priority areas, build capacity in other communities, and give jurisdictions the flexibility to make prioritization decisions based on their own assessment of their needs,” U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a press release. “For Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, Congress cut each of the preparedness grants by 10%, which resulted in commensurate cuts to each jurisdiction.”

The agency will continue to emphasize six national priority areas in the 2024 grant cycle: cybersecurity; soft targets and crowded places; intelligence and information sharing; domestic violent extremism; community preparedness and resilience along with election security.

For 2024, DHS’s grant guidance will focus on the nation’s highest-risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats.

This year, the Urban Area Security Initiative will fund 41 high-threat, high-density urban areas, including an urban area that has not previously received funding, Mayorkas said.

Grant recipients under the State Homeland Security Program and Urban Area Security Initiative will be required to dedicate a minimum of 30% of their awards across these six priority areas. Election security will get 3% of the 30% of the funding in 2024, with the remaining 27% funding being flexible across DHS’s six priorities, Mayorkas said.

The federal government is required to dedicate at least 25% of the combined funds to the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Activities (LETPA). In 2024, DHS is maintaining the LETPA minimum requirement of 35%.

For 2024, DHS will allocate $274.5 million to the agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides funds to houses of worship, schools and other nonprofits to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack.

The program will continue to help integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts and promote collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among public and private entities and local government agencies.

Here’s a breakdown of DHS’ allocations for the preparedness grants for 2024:

  • The Homeland Security Grant Program’s (HSGP) State Homeland Security Program provides $373.5 million to support enacting risk-driven, capabilities-based state homeland security strategies. The award is based on the DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) risk methodology and statutory minimums. 
  • The HSGP’s Urban Area Security Initiative will award $553.5 million in grants to improve regional preparedness and capabilities in 41 high-threat, high-density areas. Awards are based on relative risk determined by DHS and FEMA’s risk methodology. As part of the state homeland grant program and urban area grants, 30% of the awards must focus on cybersecurity, soft targets and crowded places, information and intelligence sharing, domestic violence extremism, community preparedness and resilience, and election security. In addition, 35% of these grants must be dedicated to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities, and 80% must be obligated to local or tribal governments within 45 days of receipt.   
  • The Intercity Passenger Rail program will give $9 million to Amtrak to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure, the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system. The award will be made at Congress’ direction.
  • The Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Program will distribute $319.55 million to state, local, tribal and territorial emergency management agencies to gather resources required to support the National Preparedness Goal’s mission areas and core functions. Awards are based on statutory minimums and population. 

Here are the allocations for DHS’ competitive grants, which will be announced later in 2024:

  • The HSGP’s Operation Stonegarden provides $81 million to enhance cooperation and coordination between state, local, tribal, territorial and federal law enforcement agencies to jointly enhance security along the U.S. land and water borders. 
  • Eligible tribes can access $13.5 million from the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program provides $13.5 for preparedness initiatives that strengthen the U.S. against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards. 
  • Nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack will get $274.5 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Nonprofits in UASI-designated urban areas will receive $137.25 million and nonprofits in other states and territories will get $137.25 million. 
  • Ports will receive $90 million from the Port Security Grant Program will provide $90 to help protect critical infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management and maintain or re-establish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency.
  • Owners and operators of public transit systems will get $83.7 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of their transit infrastructure.  
  • Owners and operators of intercity bus systems will receive $1.8 million from DHS’ Intercity Bus Security Grant Program to protect surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of their transit infrastructure.  

Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

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