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Monday, February 6th, 2023

FEMA launches $50M loan fund to reduce natural hazard, climate change vulnerabilities at state, local levels

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Under the direction of the Biden administration and drawing on funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will create a $50 million Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program to bolster state and local government efforts to fight natural hazards.

“As the impacts of climate change bring increases in extreme weather, one of our key roles at DHS is to ensure communities are prepared, able to respond, and equipped and resourced to recover from a natural disaster,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “These capitalization grants through the new Infrastructure Investment legislation that President Biden signed into law are helping ensure we are proactively investing in communities’ resilience.”

Funds will comprise capitalization grants for states and low-interest loans for local governments. These jurisdictions can use the funding to reduce vulnerabilities to natural hazards, improve resilience to climate change and address suffering from natural disasters. Hazard mitigation will be a big part of this, and homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and communities will be able to tap funds to work toward this goal. Further, local governments can use these funds to satisfy the non-federal cost share requirements of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs, update build codes adoption and enforcement, and make changes to zoning and land use.

“Supporting local communities in their fight against climate change requires a multi-pronged approach,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said. “FEMA’s revolving loans join a suite of other hazard mitigation grant programs and serve as a unique tool our partners can use in their pursuit of building climate resilience.”

A proper funding opportunity for the program should be published by year’s end, though at present, FEMA has only launched a notice of intent. Applications will likely be accepted and reviewed through spring 2023. Initial efforts will focus on increasing public understanding of the program in general and assisting communities in enhancing the program for the future.

Speaking of the future, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – which was adopted last year – will invest $500 million into the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program over the next five years.