Can You Benefit from the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program?March 28, 2022
By Cam Davis – Vice President, GEI
In my last post, we covered what resilience and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) BRIC program are. In this dispatch, we’ll continue with what BRIC funds can go toward, then turn to who is eligible to apply for them. In future posts, we’ll cover how funding decisions are made, where BRIC funding has gone, and when – the timing you need to consider for BRIC funding.
What: BRIC funding goes toward shoring up critical infrastructure, such as medical facilities; food and water connectivity; and energy supply lines. These are assets that, if impacted during a disaster, could impair a community’s ability to survive. FEMA calls these assets “lifelines.” They include seven categories of infrastructure and services:
- Safety & Security
- Food, Water, & Shelter
- Health & Medical
- Hazardous Material
When you break down last year’s BRIC funding (using federal fiscal year money) by project type, you can see what kinds of risks FEMA invested in preventing:
- Flood Control received $550 million
- Utility/Infrastructure Protection, $91.3 million
- Wildfire Management, $49.3 million
- Relocation, $21.9 million
- Safe Room/Shelters, $15.2 million
As FEMA was making 2021’s project funding decisions based on 2020 funding, the United States Congress was making program funding decisions for 2022 and beyond. On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. That new legislation saw an additional $1 billion over five years invested into the BRIC program for resilience funding.
Who can benefit from BRIC funding? Can your organization?
BRIC funding is essentially available to states, territories, and the District of Columbia (I’ll call this whole group “states” in this post); federally recognized tribes; and municipalities. Municipalities don’t just have to be cities. Municipalities can also be water resource agencies, park districts, and other local units of government.
If past formulas are any indicator of the future, states are typically allotted about 5% of the overall funding. About half of that is set aside for the tribes. That leaves more than 90% of BRIC funding to go to other entities as part of a national competition.
But here’s the catch: You’ll want to first coordinate with your state hazard mitigation officer (SHMO). If your SHMO thinks your project fits, it could be included into the state’s submission to FEMA. The advantage to this process is that your project is much more assured of funding. The disadvantage? As I wrote earlier, the state allotment is generally only about 5% of all annual BRIC funding. So, you might not get as much funding as you need going that route. Plus, the national competition is just that…a competition, so funding is not as assured as if the project has the backing of your SHMO. Even if your SHMO doesn’t include your project in the state submission, you’ll have had the advantage of getting feedback to improve your chances in the national competition. So, either way, coordinating with your state hazard mitigation officer will improve your chances of success.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The pathway for how you can increase your chances of success to secure funding is the subject of my next blog.
If you think your agency or organization can benefit from what you’ve read here. Let’s have a conversation. Please get in touch.