Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities (BRIC)
What is BRIC?
The Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) passed in 2018, amended many sections of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act, and included DRRA Section 1234: National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This grant program has been renamed Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and will be funded annually through the Disaster Relief Fund as a 6% set aside from estimated disaster grant expenditures incurred throughout the fiscal year. Federal Fiscal Year 2020 is the first year BRIC will be offered.
BRIC will support states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards. The program guiding principles are supporting communities through capability- and capacity-building; encouraging and enabling innovation; promoting partnerships; enabling large projects; maintaining flexibility; and providing consistency.
Please see the NM DHSEM Funding Announcement for BRIC FFY 2020 for additional information.
What are “natural hazards”?
A natural hazard is a natural phenomenon that might have a negative effect on humans or the environment. A few New Mexico specific examples include flood, fire, drought, thunderstorms, and earthquake. There are 14 natural hazards identified in the State’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.
These hazards are distinct from human-caused hazards, threats having elements of human intent, negligence, or error. Human-caused hazards are not eligible for natural hazard mitigation funding.
What can I do with this grant?
For this first year of BRIC, the State of New Mexico will accept applications for the purposes of creating or updating a natural hazard mitigation plan.
FEMA requires state, territorial, tribal, and local governments to develop and adopt hazard mitigation plans as a condition of receiving for project funding. Through effective mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation strategies greater risk reduction can be achieved. State, tribal, and local governments undertake hazard mitigation planning to identify risks and vulnerabilities related to natural disasters. Through planning, they develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future events. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. Hazard mitigation plan must be updated and receive FEMA approval every 5 years.
Who can apply?
Sub-applications are submitted to the DHSEM Mitigation Unit which submits the grant application on behalf of the state. Local and municipal governments, Tribal Nations, state agencies, and quasi-governmental agencies can apply for sub-grants.
Please note that Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations have two options for application. Tribes may apply to DHSEM as a sub-grantee for a hazard mitigation plan following the states allocation formula, or can apply direct to FEMA for up to $600,000 in federal set aside and submit applications in accordance with the federal criterial. Applications submitted over the $600,000 set-aside go into the national competition. Tribes that want to apply direct to FEMA should contact Christy King, FEMA Region VI HMA at Christina.L.King@fema.dhs.gov or 940-383-7220.
How much money is available?
Each state and Tribal Nation is eligible to submit applications up to a set-aside amount of $600,000. For this first year of BRIC, the State of New Mexico will accept applications for the purposes of creating or updating a natural hazard mitigation plan. The federal Notice of Funding Opportunity limits planning funds to a maximum of $300,000 federal. Depending on the amount of requested funding, award selection may be competitive.
Per the State’s Mitigation Administrative Plan, $50,000 total project cost is allocated for the first two jurisdictions participating in a hazard mitigation plan. An additional $5,000 may be requested for each additional participating entity. Participating entities must meet all requirements of 44 CFR (201.6 for local communities, 201.7 for Tribes) and agree to adopt the plan upon FEMA approval.
An additional 5% of the total project cost is available at 100% federal share for management of the sub-grant. For example, if a hazard mitigation plan is awarded at $50,000, the federal share will be $37,500 with a required non-federal match of $12,500. An additional $5,000 in 100% federal share funds can be requested for the purposes of maintaining the sub-grant. This would bring the total project cost to $55,000. Examples of eligible tasks are staff time completing activities such as procurement of a necessary contractor, submitting quarterly reports, or assembling financial data for a reimbursement request.
What are the cost-share requirements?
FEMA provides up to 75% of the funds for mitigation sub-grants. The remaining 25% can come from a variety of sources. Most of the sub-grants in New Mexico are matched with in-kind time. Staff (if not federally funded from a different source) track time spent working on the scope of the project or administering the sub-grant and count their regular salary rate toward the 25% requirement. Cash match, payment from the state, local government, or individuals, is also common. Other sources may include donated resources: construction labor, Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) funds from a flood insurance policy, or loans from other government agencies such as the Small Business Administration.
Small, impoverished communities are eligible for an increase in cost share up to a 90 percent federal/ 10 percent non-federal. The definition of a small impoverished community is a community of 3,000 or fewer individuals identified by the Applicant [State of NM] that is economically disadvantaged, with residents having an average per capita annual income not exceeding 80 percent of the national per capita income, based on best available data.
Indian tribal governments (federally recognized) meeting the definition of a small impoverished community that apply to FEMA directly as Applicants are eligible for a 90 percent federal cost share for their subapplications, which make up their overall BRIC grant Application.
All interested entities are required to register and submit applications in the new FEMA Grants Outcomes (FEMA GO) web tool. Registration of your entity is only possible with the assistance of your Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) identified in SAM.gov. Using the attached guide, your entity AOR must create an account, log into FEMA GO, and assign roles to all individuals within your entity that will be tasked with BRIC activities. Registration in FEMA GO is required by September 20, 2020. The State will conduct a webinar on September 9th at 1:00pm MT and provide one-on-one technical assistance as requested. Requests for individuation technical assistance must be made before September 15, 2020.
Information on FEMA GO is available at: https://www.fema.gov/grants/guidance-tools/fema-go