Communities looking to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters are getting a second chance at a federal program that has tripled the amount it is awarding since its first funding opportunity.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced the second funding opportunity for its Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant program to make communities safer from natural hazards.
FEMA said $150 million is available through the second round of the program, up from $50 million in the program’s first year. The application period opens Feb. 1 and runs through April 30.
The nationwide program is funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Applicants eligible to receive revolving loan capitalization grants include states, the District of Columbia, territories and federally recognized tribes that have received a major disaster declaration.
Applicants then use that funding to offer low-interest loans directly to local communities, which they can use the for projects and activities to reduce the effects of natural hazards.
The maximum amount of a loan under the program may not exceed $5 million. Loan repayment must begin no later than a year after project completion and must be complete no later than 20 years after project completion, or 30 years after the project is completed for projects in a low-income area.
To be awarded a loan, a community must have a hazard mitigation plan in place.
The Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund is part of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance program. These grant programs help communities with projects that increase resilience to extreme heat waves, drought, wildfires, floods and hurricanes.
Additional eligible project types under this program include activities that mitigate the impact of zoning and land-use planning changes and adoption and enforcement of modern building codes. Loans may also be used by local governments to satisfy their non-federal cost-share requirement for other FEMA grant programs.
Of the nearly $7 billion available in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to FEMA, $500 million is invested in the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program over five years to reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs.