Monday, September 9, 2024
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Name
Ready Utilities for Resilient Communities: How to Leverage FEMA Hazard Mitigation Funding

With climate change driving more frequent and severe disasters in Tennessee and Kentucky, it is now more important than ever that water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities consider how to protect critical infrastructure from damage and build resilience in local communities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants (available through 5 programs) provide a vital opportunity to fund projects and activities that safeguard infrastructure and mitigate hazards for community members. This presentation will provide an overview of the programs, highlighting some key program requirements and opportunities where utilities could use this funding to improve community resilience (including some new and exciting opportunities that have only recently become available). The first step for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities who are exploring HMA funding opportunities is understanding the basics of the HMA programs and where their organization and mitigation needs fit in the universe of available funding. The first part of this presentation will provide an overview of the different HMA programs, including both project and applicant eligibility requirements, focusing on hazards that are prevalent in Tennessee and Kentucky (floods, tornadoes, landslides, and severe storms) and project types that are relevant to water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities (flood risk reduction projects, improvements to existing buildings, installation of generators, and infrastructure retrofits). Beyond the basic eligibility requirements, FEMA funded projects also have a variety of other critical application and documentation requirements including benefit cost analysis and environmental review information. This presentation will provide an overview of several useful resources that can help utilities navigate these requirements successfully to build a fundable grant application. Finally, this presentation will provide some tips and tricks on perhaps the most difficult element of applying for HMA funding – getting started. This presentation will highlight key resources and sources of assistance that can help water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities move from identifying infrastructure at risk to submitting a project for funding. This includes newer opportunities for assistance available through FEMA such as Direct Technical Assistance and funding for Community Disaster Resilience Zones. Ultimately, this presentation will help attendees to think critically about their risks and identify opportunities to leverage FEMA funding to build more resilient utilities and a better future for their communities.