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FAQs - Hazard Mitigation

What is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

Authorized under Section 404 of the Stafford Act and administered by FEMA, HMGP was created to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. The program enables mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

Who is eligible to apply?

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding is only available to applicants that reside within a Presidentially declared disaster area. Eligible applicants are:

  • State and local governments
  • Indian tribes or other tribal organizations
  • Certain non-profit organizations
Individual homeowners and businesses may not apply directly to the program; however a community may apply on their behalf.

What types of projects can be funded by the HMGP?

HMGP funds may be used to fund projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem, for example, the acquisition (buy-out) of a home to reduce the risk of flood damages as opposed to buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood. In addition, a project's potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project. Funds may be used to protect either public or private property or to purchase property that has been subjected to, or is in danger of, repetitive damage. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Acquisition of real property for willing sellers and demolition or relocation of buildings to convert the property to open space use.
  • Retrofitting structures and facilities to minimize damages from high winds, earthquake, flood, wildfire, or other natural hazards.
  • Elevation of flood prone structures.
  • Development and initial implementation of vegetative management programs.
  • Minor flood control projects that do not duplicate the flood prevention activities of other federal agencies.
  • Localized flood control projects, such as certain ring levees and floodwall systems, that are designed specifically to protect critical facilities.
  • Post-disaster building code related activities that support building code officials during the reconstruction process.
How are potential projects selected and identified?

The state's administrative plan governs how projects are selected for funding. However, proposed projects must meet certain minimum criteria. These criteria are designed to ensure that the most cost-effective and appropriate projects are selected for funding. Both the law and the regulations require that the projects are part of an overall mitigation strategy for the disaster area.

The state prioritizes and selects project applications developed and submitted by local jurisdictions. The state forwards applications consistent with state mitigation planning objectives to FEMA for eligibility review. Funding for this grant program is limited and state and local communities must make difficult decisions as to the most effective use of grant funds.

What is Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning?

Mitigation Plans form the foundation for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. The planning process is as important as the plan itself. It creates a framework for risk-based decision making to reduce damages to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters. Hazard mitigation is sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from hazards.

State, tribal, and local governments are required to develop a hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance. Please visit the Mitigation Grant Programs page for more information on the specific plan requirements for the various mitigation grant programs, as well as FEMA funds available for mitigation plan development and mitigation projects.

What are the minimum project criteria?

There are five issues you must consider when determining the eligibility of a proposed project.

  • Does your project conform to your state's Hazard Mitigation Plan?
  • Does your project provide a beneficial impact on the disaster area, i.e. the State?
  • Does your application meet the environmental requirements?
  • Does your project solve a problem independently?
  • Is your project cost-effective?
  • How do I apply for the HMGP?

    Following a disaster declaration, the state will advertise that HMGP funding is available to fund mitigation projects in the state. Those interested in applying to the HMGP should contact their local government to begin the application process. Local governments should contact ND Department of Emergency Services.

    What is the deadline for applying for HMGP funds?

    Applications for mitigation projects are encouraged as soon as possible after the disaster occurs so that opportunities to do mitigation are not lost during reconstruction. The state will set a deadline for application submittal. Contact the ND Department of Emergency Services for specific application dates.

    How long will it take to get my project approved?

    It is important for applicants to understand the approval process. Project eligibility is selected by the state; they are then forwarded to the FEMA Regional Office and are reviewed to ensure compliance with Federal laws and regulations. One such law is the National Environmental Policy Act, passed by Congress in 1970, which requires FEMA to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of each proposed project. The time required for the environmental review depends on the complexity of the project.

    Will I be forced to sell my home if my community is granted funding for an HMGP acquisition project?

    Acquisition projects funded under the HMGP are voluntary and you are under no obligation to sell your home. Communities consider other options when preparing projects, but it may be determined by state and local officials that the most effective mitigation measure in a location is the acquisition of properties and the removal of residents and structures from the hazard area. Despite the effectiveness of property acquisitions, it may not make you or your family whole again. Acquisition projects are based on the principle of fair compensation for property. Property acquisitions present owners with an opportunity to recoup a large part of their investment in property that probably has lost some, if not most of its value due to damage. But, it will not compensate you or your family for your entire emotional and financial loss.

    Why didn't I receive HMGP funds when some of my neighbors did?

    The HMGP is administered by the state, which prioritizes and selects project applications developed and submitted by local jurisdictions. The state forwards applications consistent with state mitigation planning objectives to FEMA for eligibility review. Although individuals may not apply directly to the state for assistance, local governments may sponsor an application on their behalf. Funding for the grant program is limited and states and local communities must make difficult decisions as to the most effective use of available grant funds.

    Will someone be able to rebuild and make a profit on the property I sell in an HMGP acquisition project?

    Under the Stafford Act, any land purchased with HMGP funds must be restricted to open space, recreational, and wetlands management uses in perpetuity. Most often, a local government takes responsibility, but even if a state or federal agency takes ownership of the land, the deed restrictions still apply. Property purchased with HGMP funds can never be built on again.

    How can I get more information about the HMGP?

    For more information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, contact your local Emergency Manager or the N.D. Department of Emergency Services.

    Paul Messner
    Hazard Mitigation Officer
    NDDES
    Fraine Barracks Lane - Building 35
    PO Box 5511
    Bismarck, ND 58504
    T: 701.328.8100
    F: 701.328.8181
    Toll Free: 800.773.3259



    This site updated as of 12/19/2014.