Mitigation Funding in the FEMA Public Assistance Program



...facilities resulting from the current declared disaster. It focuses, rather, on repetitive damages from past disasters and funds new or improved facilities.

In contrast, the 406 program focuses on the current declared disaster and the actual elements or systems that were damaged as a direct result. In the 406 program, FEMAwill do more than fund the repair or replacement of the damaged facility to its pre-disaster design, function and capacity. It will also authorize additional funding to modify the damaged facility in order to mitigate potential future damage.

The 404 Program

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) was created in 1988 by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The HMGP assists states and local communities in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster declaration. In 1993, the president signed the Hazard Mitigation and Relocation Assistance Act, which amended Section 404 to increase federal funding of HMGP projects to 75 percent of the project’s total eligible costs. For disasters declared before June 10, 1993, the federal share for the program was 50 percent. 3

The 404 program is a mitigation program administered by the state grantee and funded by FEMA. Once the president declares a major disaster eligible and FEMA determines the cost of that disaster, additional funding will be made available to the state exclusively for HMGP 404 mitigation projects. Municipalities, counties, non- profits and the like may receive this funding at a 75 percent cost share from the federal government for approved, cost-effective mitigation projects.

Some examples of 404 mitigation projects might include: building a retention pond to keep a downstream community from flooding during the spring snow melt; building a flood wall to help prevent the flooding of a hospital; or installing hurricane shutters on the local police department for protection during a hurricane.

Any eligible 404 mitigation project must be included on the state’s long-range mitigation plan, be deemed cost-effective, and be approved before funding is made available. It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit proposed projects for the long-range mitigation plan. Such plans can be submitted prior to or post-disaster. Additionally, the state must gather all of the eligible plans from applicants and rank them by cost- effectiveness. The projects usually are funded in order from the most to the least cost-effective. The 404 program has limited funding, which oftentimes produces competition among applicants. Those not fortunate to receive funding must wait until additional funding is made available through a future declaration.

The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 calls for some significant changes to the 404 Mitigation Program. These include increasing the flexibility of the mitigation program to allow a broader scope of mitigation projects and implementation of a sliding scale funding schedule. The funding schedule is 15 percent for disaster amounts not more than $2 billion; 10 percent for disaster amounts between $2-$10 billion; and 7.5 percent for disaster amounts between $10-$35.333 billion.

3 Federal Emergency Management Agency, “What is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program – BACKGROUNDER,” Release Number: 1299-35b, October 1999.