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Disaster Relief Funding for Special Districts

As reported by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), “there have been 25 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect United States,” and that’s just counting the first ten months of 2023.

With so many natural disasters at hand, it’s only a matter of time before your district comes into contact with one. When that time comes and you need assistance funding the district’s recovery, here are a few places to start.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Funding

For special districts, there are two possible types of fund requests that can be made through FEMA: Hazard Mitigating Grant Program (HMGP) funds and Public Assistance (PA).

HMGP funds are made available after a presidential major disaster is declared and funds are requested by an eligible executive (for example, a governor) in a state or community. The HMGP is meant to fund projects that identify and reduce the risks a disaster poses. According to FEMA’s website, projects must be cost-effective, feasible, effective at lowering the risk it was meant for, and comply with applicable planning and environmental laws and regulations.

The second type of fund request is Public Assistance (PA). PA funds can be put towards two types of projects: emergency work and permanent work. Emergency work must be completed within six months and consists of debris removal and emergency protective measures. Permanent work must be completed in 18 months and can be used to fund a broader array of projects (roads and water control facilities being two examples listed on FEMA’s Process of Public Assistance Grants webpage.

Special districts are eligible to be sub-applicants for grant funding, but “must have an approved mitigation plan, which includes adoption, as part of the eligibility requirements.” Sub-applications also require a non-federal cost share which may make this kind of grant unappealing for those already in financially dire straits. For more information on eligibility requirements and the application process, visit FEMA’s website or contact the Hazard Mitigation Office.

Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA)

In 2022, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs began offering funds to homeowners, businesses, local governments and communities affected by natural disasters through their Disaster Resilience Rebuilding Program (DRRP). While DOLA’s foremost priority is housing recovery and such efforts receive initial fund allocations, local government and neighborhood recovery is also listed among their areas of focus. Inquiries about the program and eligibility requirements can be made through your DOLA regional manager.

Safety and Loss Prevention Grants

If you make a purchase that is meant to improve the safety of your district or reduce losses, you can be reimbursed for up to 50% of the purchase by the CSD Pool. Members that have a contribution of $3,000 or more automatically qualify for funds and receive an annual grant allocation through the Safety and Loss Prevention Grant Program.

Submitting an online request is simple and you aren’t competing with anyone else for the funds; they’re reserved specifically for your district. Visit csdpool.org/grants/safetygrant to apply today.

No matter how prepared one might be, experiencing a natural disaster can cause severe difficulties going forward. If you have additional questions about resources or coverages available to your district, reach out to our underwriters at info@csdpool.org.