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USA - What You Need to Know About New FEMA Funding for Community Resilience

A new Federal Emergency Management Agency-run program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, will provide millions of dollars to cash-strapped local and state governments and federally recognized Indian tribes for projects that build resilience to protect people and property before the next disaster.

FEMA has $500 million available for BRIC projects, with $20 million set aside for federally recognized tribes. The agency will accept applications from September 30, 2020 to January 29, 2021 and requires a current FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan for eligibility.

Here are three lessons to consider as you develop your BRIC proposal.

1. Engage communities in project development and decision-making

After Hurricane Michael caused widespread damage in the Florida panhandle, Mexico Beach, Florida partnered with FEMA and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a vision for nature-based stormwater management and urban design rooted in community engagement and outreach.

The effort brought together stakeholders and planners to collaboratively develop six implementation-ready projects that leveraged existing conditions to reduce flood risk while simultaneously creating open space and improving recreation.

The proposal received $2.7 million in funding from FEMA and included wetland parks, stormwater retention ponds and other natural infrastructure features within the city.

2. Utilize nature-based solutions to help protect infrastructure

Hoboken, New Jersey proposed a new city park for recreation and stormwater retention. To ensure the park would fit the needs of the community, the city underwent an extensive community engagement process, including a survey, public events and meetings, and a community-design charrette.

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