Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant Program Released – Due January 29, 2021

U.S. Department of Homeland Security is accepting applications for the FY 2020 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program. Maximum funding levels for this program range from $300,000 to $50 million with a total funding availability of $500 million.  

What is the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program? The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program makes federal funds available to states, U.S territories, Indian tribal governments, and local communities for pre-disaster mitigation activities. The BRIC program was issued by U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Mitigation Directorate, Hazard Mitigation Assistance Division, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA will provide financial assistance to eligible BRIC projects. 

The guiding principles of the program are to:

  1. Support state and local governments, tribes, and territories through capability- and capacity-building to enable them to identify mitigation actions and implement projects that reduce risks posed by natural hazards;
  2. Encourage and enable innovation while allowing flexibility, consistency, and effectiveness;
  3. Promote partnerships and enable high-impact investments to reduce risk from natural hazards with a focus on critical services and facilities, public infrastructure, public safety, public health, and communities;
  4. Provide a significant opportunity to reduce future losses and minimize impacts on the Disaster Relief Fund; and
  5. Support the adoption and enforcement of building codes, standards, and policies that will protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the public, take into account future conditions, and have long-lasting impacts on community risk reduction, including for critical services and facilities and for future disaster costs.

Who is eligible to apply? Eligible applicants include: States, District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Indian tribal governments (federally recognized). Each state, territory, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribal government (federally recognized) shall designate one agency to serve as the applicant for BRIC funding. Each applicant’s designated agency may submit only one BRIC grant application to FEMA. Subapplications under which two or more entities would carry out the award are eligible, such as a multi-state or multi-tribal initiative; however, only one entity may be the applicant with primary responsibility for carrying out the award.

Local governments, including cities, townships, counties, special district governments, and Indian tribal governments (including federally recognized tribes who choose to apply as subapplicants) are considered subapplicants and must submit subapplications for financial assistance or letters of interest for non-financial Direct Technical Assistance to their state/territory/tribal applicant agency.

What is the applicant eligibility criteria for BRIC?

  • States and territories that have had a major disaster declaration under the Stafford Act in the 7 years prior to the annual application period start date are eligible to apply as applicants. As a result of numerous major disaster declarations, all states, territories, and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply in FY 2020.
  • Indian tribal governments (federally recognized) that have had a major disaster declaration under the Stafford Act in the 7 years prior to the annual application period start date or are entirely or partially located in a state or territory that had a major disaster declaration in the 7 years prior to the annual application period start date are eligible to apply as applicants or subapplicants to eligible states and territories. As a result of numerous major disaster declarations, all Indian tribal governments (federally recognized) are eligible to apply in FY 2020.
  • Local governments are eligible to apply to eligible states and territories for federal assistance under BRIC (subapplicants). Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations are not eligible to apply for grant funds; however, an eligible applicant or subapplicant may apply for funding on behalf of individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

See a complete list of applicant and general eligibility criteria in this project’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) provided below, pages 6-8.

What are eligible project activities for this program? The following project activities are eligible:

  1. Capability- and Capacity-Building (C&CB) – activities which enhance the knowledge, skills, expertise, etc., of the current workforce to expand or improve the administration of mitigation assistance. This includes activities in the following sub-categories: building codes activities, partnerships, project scoping, mitigation planning and planning-related activities, and other activities;
  2. Mitigation Projects – cost-effective projects designed to increase resilience and public safety; reduce injuries and loss of life; and reduce damage and destruction to property, critical services, facilities, and infrastructure; and
  3. Management Costs – financial assistance to reimburse the recipient and subrecipient for eligible and reasonable indirect costs, direct administrative costs, and other administrative expenses associated with a specific mitigation measure or project in an amount up to 15 percent of the total amount of the grant award, of which not more than 10 percent of the total award amount may be used by the recipient and 5 percent by the subrecipient for such costs.

FEMA will also provide non-financial Direct Technical Assistance to communities to build a community’s capacity and capability to improve its resiliency to natural hazards and to ensure stakeholders are capable of building and sustaining successful mitigation programs, submitting high-quality applications, and implementing new and innovative projects that reduce risk from a wide range of natural hazards.

What are the priorities for FY 2020? The priorities for the FY 2020 program are to incentivize public infrastructure projects; incentivize projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines; incentivize projects that incorporate nature-based solutions; and increase funding to applicants that facilitate the adoption and enforcement of the latest published editions of building codes. In addition, communities are encouraged, but not required, to pursue Plan Integration, which is a process in which communities look critically at their existing planning framework and align efforts.

What are the funding categories for BRIC? There are three funding categories for this grant: 1) State/Territory Allocation 2) Tribal Set-Aside, and 3) National Competition. Of the $500,000 million available for the program $33.6 million is allocated for the State/Territory Allocation category, $20 million for the Tribal Set-Aside category, and $446.4 million allocated for the National Competition category.

1) State/Territory Maximum Allocation & Activity Caps – $600,000

  • The maximum allocation for a state or territory under this category is $600,000, covering all activities/projects.
  • Each state/territory may apply for up to $600,000 in the State/Territory Allocation. The State/Territory Allocation may be used for C&CB activities and/or mitigation projects. The combined cost for any C&CB activities and/or mitigation projects under the State/Territory Allocation must not exceed $600,000 federal cost share per applicant. Additionally, the applicant’s highest ranked subapplication (C&CB activity or mitigation project) for the State/Territory Allocation must not exceed $600,000 federal cost share.
  • Up to $300,000 of the State/Territory Allocation may be used for mitigation planning and planning-related activities per applicant.
  • Up to 10 percent of any subapplication may be used for information dissemination activities, including public awareness and education (brochures, workshops, videos, etc.) related to a proposed C&CB activity or mitigation project.

2) Tribal Set-Aside Activity Caps – $600,000

  • The combined cost for any C&CB activities under the Tribal Set-Aside must not exceed $600,000 federal cost share per applicant. Additionally, the applicant’s highest ranked subapplication (C&CB activity) for the Tribal Set-Aside must not exceed $600,000 federal cost share.
  • Up to $300,000 of the Tribal Set-Aside may be used for mitigation planning and planning-related activities per applicant.
  • Up to 10 percent of any subapplication may be used for information dissemination activities, including public awareness and education (brochures, workshops, videos, etc.) related to a proposed C&CB activity or mitigation project.
  • In the event that more than $20,000,000 in subapplications is submitted under the Tribal Set-Aside, the C&CB activities and highest-ranked mitigation project subapplications up to $20,000,000 will be selected. Once the $20,000,000 is selected, all remaining tribal mitigation project subapplications will be evaluated under the national competition.

3) National Competition Cap – $50,000,000

  • Applicants may submit an unlimited number of mitigation project subapplications each valued up to $50,000,000 federal share to the national competition.
  • Up to 10 percent of any subapplication may be used for information dissemination activities, including public awareness and education (brochures, workshops, videos, etc.) related to a proposed mitigation project.

Management Costs: In addition to funding awarded under the State/Territory Allocation, Tribal Set-Aside, and National Competition, applicants may submit up to 10 percent of the application budget for applicant management costs for applicants to administer and manage award and subaward activities; and 5 percent of C&CB activity and mitigation project subapplication budget for subapplicant management costs for subapplicants to manage their subaward activities.

What is the project duration? The project period is 36 months, starting on the date of the applicant’s federal award (which will vary by award). Any subsequent amendments to the federal award will not extend the project period unless explicitly stated. For highly complex projects, the applicant may submit a request for a longer project period in the application for FEMA to review and approve.

Is there a cost-sharing requirement? Cost share is required for all subapplications funded under this program. Generally, the cost share for this program is 75 percent federal / 25 percent non-federal. This means federal funding is available for up to 75 percent of eligible costs. The remaining 25 percent of eligible costs must be derived from non-federal sources. FEMA will provide 100 percent federal funding for management costs.

The non-federal cost share may consist of cash, donated or third-party in-kind services, materials, or any combination thereof. Cash and third-party in-kind matches must consist of eligible costs (i.e., same eligibility as the federal share).

Small, impoverished communities are eligible for an increase in cost share up to 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 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.

For insular areas, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, FEMA automatically waives the non-federal cost share for the recipient when the non-federal cost share for the entire award is under $200,000. If the non-federal cost share for the entire award is $200,000 or greater, FEMA may waive all or part of the non-federal cost share at the request of the recipient.

When are applications due? Applications must be submitted no later than January 29, 2021 at 3:00pm ET.

The full NOFO is available here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

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