Hazard Mitigation 

Disaster Relief Grants

CDBG Disaster Funding through Arkansas Economic Development Commission provides money when a disaster is declared by the president. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and are given through Arkansas’ Community Development Block Grant Program. Any city or county in Arkansas hit by a presidential disaster can apply. Projects must fulfill one of three goals: help people with low or moderate incomes, fix run-down areas, or deal with an urgent threat to the community’s health and well-being.

Most recent Disaster Relief Projects funded were:

    • Conway County Generator

    • Dardanelle Generator

    • Knoxville Generator

    • Montgomery County Generator

For more information and assistance with the Disaster Relief Grants through Arkansas Economic Development Commission, district members may contact Vicki Sexton, Community Grants Coordinator, vsexton@wcapdd.org or 501-525-7577 ext 1003

The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) can assist communities in addressing long-term disaster relief and recovery needs. Through competitive grants to eligible applicants, EDA’s disaster recovery generally falls within three categories:

    • Strategic Planning and Technical Assistance

    • Infrastructure Design and Development

    • Capital for Alternative Financing

For more information and assistance with Disaster Relief Grants through the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, district members may contact Vicki Sexton, Program Manager, vsexton@wcapdd.org, or 501-525-7577 ext 1003.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance

HMA programs provide funding for eligible activities that are consistent with the National Mitigation Framework’s Long-Term Vulnerability Reduction capability. HMA programs reduce community vulnerability to disasters and their effects, promote individual and community safety and resilience, and promote community vitality after an incident. Furthermore, HMA programs reduce response and recovery resource requirements in the wake of a disaster or incident, which results in a safer community that is less reliant on external financial assistance.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. Unlike the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) more familiar disaster assistance programs that help pay for the permanent repair and restoration of existing facilities, the HMGP goes beyond simply fixing the damage. The HMGP will, within the limits of state and federal guidelines, help fund a wide range of new projects that reduce hazard vulnerability and the potential of future damage. The State of Arkansas, through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), administers the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). (Section 404 of Public Law 93-288, as amended, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act).

What Types Of Projects Can Be Funded By The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program? 
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds may be used to fund projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem, for example, elevation of a home to reduce the risk of flood damages as opposed to buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood. In addition, a project’s potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project. Funds may be used to protect either public or private property or to purchase property that has been subjected to, or is in danger of, repetitive damage. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to: Acquisition of real property for willing sellers and demolition or relocation of buildings to convert the property to open space use, Retrofitting structures and facilities to minimize damages from high winds, earthquake, flood, wildfire, or other natural hazards, Elevation of flood prone structures, Development and initial implementation of vegetative management programs, Minor flood control projects that do not duplicate the flood prevention activities of other federal agencies Localized flood control projects, such as certain ring levees and floodwall systems, that are designed specifically to protect critical facilities, and Post-disaster building code related activities that support building code officials during the reconstruction process.

Who is Eligible to Apply? 
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding is only available to applicants that reside within a Presidentially declared disaster area. Eligible applicants include: State and local governments Indian tribes or other tribal organizations Certain non-profit organizations Individual homeowners and businesses may not apply directly to the program; however a community may apply on their behalf.

Building Resilient Infrastructure in Communities (BRIC)

BRIC previously PDM is authorized by the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5133. Since the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018  was signed into law, FEMA has developed the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program to address National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation(PDM). This Program is designed to assist States, territories, federally-recognized tribes, and local communities to implement a sustained pre- disaster natural hazard mitigation program to reduce overall risk to the population and structures from future hazard events, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding in future disasters. Congressional appropriations provide the funding for PDM. The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program aims to categorically shift the federal focus away from reactive disaster spending and toward research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience.
Examples of BRIC projects are ones that demonstrate innovative approaches to partnerships, such as shared funding mechanisms, and/or project design. 

Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant program (FMA)

FMA is authorized by Section 1366 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended (NFIA), 42 U.S.C. 4104c, with the goal of reducing or eliminating claims under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FMA was created as part of the National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA) of 1994. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-141) consolidated the Repetitive Flood Claims and Severe Repetitive Loss grant programs into FMAFMA funding is available through the National Flood Insurance Fund (NFIF) for flood hazard mitigation projects as well as plan development and is appropriated by Congress. States, territories, and federally-recognized tribes are eligible to apply for FMAfunds. Local governments are considered subapplicants and must apply to their Applicant State, territory, or federally-recognized tribe.

For more information and assistance contact Courtney Decker, Community Development Specialist, cdecker@wcapdd.org or 501-525-7577 Ext. 1009.

Continuity of Operations Planning 

The ACOOP effort has focused state entity energy and resources on developing plans to minimize the impact of natural and man-made disasters on state operations. Reviews of the work completed thus far make it clear that plan development is only the start of the process. In order to ensure long-term effectiveness, these plans must be continually tested, lessons learned must be institutionalized, and recommendations for improvements must be supported and adopted. The key to the success of this program is establishing a state government culture where our leadership and staff are aware of the need to plan, accept responsibility for ensuring the continuity of essential state services, and are actively involved in refining and following an ongoing, repeatable program methodology.

For more information and assistance in preparing a Arkansas Continuity of Operations Plan contact Courtney Decker, Community Development Specialist, cdecker@wcapdd.org or 501-525-7577 ext 1009, Darian Piper Community Grant Specialist, dpiper@wcapdd.org or 501-525-7577 ext 1008

*Some photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism