Thought Leadership

How you can get ahead of the BRIC timeline

July 6, 2022

By Cam Davis – Vice President, GEI

When should you start preparing your BRIC application?

As soon as possible. Why? Because the BRIC funding cycle is more than a year long and it can be up to three years long if you require technical assistance ahead of time.

This post covers the when of BRIC applications. In other words, what kind of timeline should you anticipate from application prep to funding awards? Understand first, that FEMA relies strongly on the states, so timelines can vary as you’ll read below. Use this blog as a general roadmap. Because timelines vary, it’s never too early to start reaching out for help.

General BRIC Timeline

Click here for an enlarged graphic.

The graphic shows a general timeline moving into the future. For our purposes, let’s first work backwards.

BRIC national competition grant announcements are made in summertime, typically July.

To get to those awards, national competition “qualitative reviews” take place in early spring, usually March.

Qualitative reviews usually follow technical reviews, which take place by the end of February.

To get to the February technical reviews, BRIC “subapplications” for the national competition must be submitted between August and the last Friday of the following January.

Here’s where you can reach a fork in the road: Your project can be considered for funding under state allotments or part of the national competition. These deadlines vary slightly from state to state. For example, in 2021, the state of Washington required pre-applications by September 7. Illinois required its pre-applications by September 30. California requests expressions of interest in the August to September timeframe, and full sub-applications in the December to January timeframe. If you have followed the advice in my previous blog and been in touch with your State Hazard Mitigation Officer (SHMO) early, these deadlines should not creep up on you. If you find that your SHMO will not consider your project as part of the state allotment, or you decide you want to submit your sub-application as part of the national competition, you can submit anytime between late September and the last Friday in January of the following year. FEMA typically releases its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in early August with specific deadlines that can change from year to year.

Assuming a good application takes about six months to prepare, that means applicants should start organizing their pre-applications around February or March. Some states require a letter of interest to be submitted first. If you need help getting your pre-application together, you can submit a letter of interest for direct technical assistance from 1-3 years before getting your pre-application together.

Having looked backward, let’s now take that same schedule and work forward.

Pre-application development should start no later than the February-March timeframe in year 1. That means seeking help from qualified firms, talking to State Hazard Mitigation officers (SHMOs), and looking for project supporters. If you believe you need a lot of help, you should submit a letter of interest for direct technical assistance earlier than that.

By about June, you should get a decision from your SHMO about whether your project would make a good candidate for the state BRIC allotment. If it will, submit your application by the end of August. If not, and your SHMO still thinks it’s a worthwhile project, you have from the end of September until the end of January the following year to submit your state “subapplication.”

That’s when the hardest part begins: Waiting.

FEMA’s teams will undertake a technical review in February and a qualitative review in March. Project announcements are then made a few months later, around mid-summer.

If this timeframe seems long, you’re right. The August (or January) deadline can sneak up on you. So don’t wait. Start to ask questions and seek help now.

This series of blogs have covered what BRIC funds, who (what types of entities) is eligible, how the funding process unfolds, and, in this blog, when you need to start the process to be considered for funding. My next post will cover where BRIC funding tends to be applied. Stay tuned.

Revisit my previous blog posts on exploring resiliency and the BRIC program, what BRIC funds can be used for, and how to improve your chances of BRIC funding