Thought Leadership

How can the new Building Resilience in Communities (BRIC) program help you?

November 11, 2021

Cam Davis with green background

By Cam Davis – Vice President, GEI

In recent days, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill greenlighting $1 trillion in infrastructure investments, with much of that money going to “resilience.” But what exactly does “resilience” mean?

Here’s a small-scale example: Twenty years ago, the roof on your home needed some work. So, you had a new layer of shingles installed. Those shingles had a 20-year life span. Fast forward to today. You gulp hard and think: How am I going to afford a new roof now? But, if I hold off on spending on a new roof now, how much costly damage might I have to repair down the road?

You’ve just captured the essence of “resilience.” When we are resilient, we are prepared going into a difficult situation and we come out stronger. But, often, resilience means more than just wanting to be stronger. It means planning for it, especially financially. Being stronger requires investment.

Now, on a larger scale, what are the tradeoffs to make your asset – whether it’s your business, community, tribe, or state – more resilient? The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA’s) new Building Resilience in Communities (BRIC) program can help fund efforts. We’ll explore how BRIC can help fund your resilience efforts soon.

Ignoring the need to take action toward resilience is not an option. After all, if you don’t take care of your home – update your roof every 20 years or so – it won’t take care of you. As important, if you wait too long to “resiliefy” your asset (don’t try to look up this word; I just made it up) you will spend more money repairing it than preventing damage from happening in the first place. After all, a dime spent during pre-damage is better than a dollar spent during post-damage.

Bottom line: it feels like you’re stuck in a Catch-22. You don’t want money going out the door now, but you know more money might have to go out the door later if you don’t take action. But this is a false dilemma – especially if you can get financial assistance to prevent damage now. That’s where FEMA’s BRIC program comes in.

The recent Congressional passage of the infrastructure bill mentioned at the outset here includes $1 billion for BRIC. Shoring up everything from water supplies, to roads, dams, parks, and many other community-scale assets, are eligible for federal funding to become disaster proof. This means that federal funding assistance might be available to help you fortify your municipality, local agency, or tribe against the hazards of extreme weather…whether it’s from too little water that leads to forest fires or, on the other extreme, too much water that leads to floods.

Bottom line: BRIC can help so that you don’t have to struggle with whether to pay now with financing that’s tough to come by v. pay more later.

So, how can BRIC work for you?

Now that I’ve introduced you to BRIC, I’ll start to answer that question for you in the next blog. Impatient to read it? Be resilient. I’m writing it now and you won’t have to wait for long.

In the meantime, if you’d like more information about BRIC, contact Cam.