Natural Hazards Center: Research Counts Series
A platform for hazards and disaster scholars to provide insights about research findings and the enduring lessons of disaster, as well as to raise new questions that are worthy of exploration.
FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) Elevation Certificate Training Videos
The CRS Program has just released 8 videos that cover training on the FEMA Elevation Certificate (EC). The videos describe each Section of the EC and explain which fields on the form are required for CRS purposes and why.
FEMA Grants Portal Website for PA Grants:
Recipient and Applicant Webinars are designed to train State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial stakeholders on the Public Assistance grant process and the FEMA Grants Portal website that is used for PA grants.
FEMA Podcast, Episode 83
The FEMA Podcast is an audio series available to anyone interested in learning more about the agency, hearing about innovation in the field of emergency management, and listening to stories about communities and individuals recovering after disasters.
Deep Dive: Mental Health Impacts in Medicaid Programs, November 6
As a result of COVID-19, states are experiencing severe declines in tax revenue, with projections indicating 5-15% reductions in revenue for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and reductions of 10-25% for FY 2021. A number of states have also been forced to severely cut funding for behavioral health services. Colorado has cut $26 million in funds allocated for behavioral health for FY 2021, while Florida, Georgia and Utah have cut funding for substance use disorder programs. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the need for behavioral health care was already high before the pandemic, with deaths from overdose and suicide at near-historic and three-decade highs, respectively. Need has likely only risen since then, given the recent stress and trauma from the public health and economic crises. This session will explore how state Medicaid programs are addressing need while facing financial realities brought on the pandemic. It will also be an opportunity for state leaders to learn about the CSG Medicaid Policy Academies planned for 2021.
Opportunity Makers: Melding Health and Equity in Rural Places, November 10, 3 – 4 PM EST
Resourceful and committed rural American health innovators are taking a fresh look at a wider range of practical answers to the question: What it will take to create healthy places where everyone feels a sense of belonging, lives with dignity and thrives? Some rural health professionals are transforming the way they work, creating a culture of hope along with health. They are increasing opportunity by integrating other components critical to better livelihoods – like preventative wellness, community agriculture and economic development action – especially focusing on those with lower incomes and in communities of color. New data tools are making it possible for rural health advocates to quantify and visualize health equity disparities within their community, which in turn allows them to be better advocates for their people and places.
Smart Transportation Initiative Community of Practice Sessions
Register today to join us for our annual Community of Practice Meeting! We welcome DOT CEOs, staff, and staff from other transportation agencies to participate in these sessions.
- November 16, 11 a.m. ET: DOTs’ Role in Reining in VMT
Texas General Land Office | MIT Competition Application Guidance: Citizen Participation
A critical component of submitting a successful application for the three MIT competitions underway is complying with the Citizen Participation requirement. This requirement is an opportunity for all citizens to provide input on the substantially complete proposed application.
As stated on page 34 of the Application Guide, “an application under the CDBG-MIT program may be awarded only if the locality certifies provides evidence that, at a minimum, the substantially complete application was publicly posted for at least a 14-day public comment period, comments received, and responses provided.”
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
This year commemorates two major milestones in the fight for disability rights and equity: the 75th observance of NDEAM and the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The NDEAM theme, “Increasing Access and Opportunity,” ehxemplifies commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees with disabilities have equal access and the opportunity to bring teir valuable skills and experience to their team.
FEMA Adjusts Consumer Price Index for 2021
The following increases remain in effect for the next 12 months. For more information visit the FEMA website. FEMA has provided financial guidance for all disasters declared on or after Oct. 1, 2020. This guidance reflects the 2021 Consumer Price Index adjustment of certain indicators for the Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs. The index adjusted annually for inflation by the U.S. Department of Labor—has increased 1.3% for Fiscal Year 2021. Therefore, the following FEMA program amounts have been changed:
- The maximum amount of assistance for both housing assistance and other needs assistance under the Individuals and Households Program is $36,000.
- The statewide per capita impact indicator under the Public Assistance program is $1.55.
- The countywide per capita indicator under the Public Assistance program is $3.89.
- The maximum amount of small project grants under the Public Assistance program is $132,800.
- The minimum amount for project worksheets under the Public Assistance program is $3,320.
Studies, Reports, and Tools
- Connecting Counties to Residents with Access Live, NACo Here
- The COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI), Surgo Foundation Here
- State Execs Talk COVID-19 Impacts on Budgets, More, NACo Here
- Working With Them: Small-Scale Landlord Strategies for Avoiding Evictions, Housing Policy Here
- * In Depth with Dr. Fauci
- * State Budgets and COVID-19
- * How to Think about and Address Inequities Revealed by COVID-19
- * CDC Podcast Series: MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing is a weekly podcast to update readers on the latest scientific information from CDC’s COVID-19 response. New episodes are posted every Monday. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Play.
Using CARES Act Funding for Economic Development Purposes
This article from CDFA’s partners at Frost Brown Todd examines second-order effects that cost jobs and closed stores can be attacked with CARES Act funding. Eligible expenditures of CARES Act funds can include expenditures incurred to respond to “second-order effects” of the emergency.
FEMA Announces Proposed Revision to the Public Assistance Appeals Process
FEMA is proposing regulations to implement the new right of arbitration as part of the agency’s Public Assistance appeals process. Arbitration was authorized by the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA). DRRA Section 1219 amended Section 423 of the Stafford Act to provide a right of arbitration for certain applicants who dispute FEMA’s determination on their Public Assistance application, including eligibility for assistance or repayment of assistance. The rule would allow an applicant or recipient to use arbitration in lieu of a second appeal or in cases where an applicant has had a first appeal pending with FEMA for more than 180 calendar days. To be eligible for Section 423 arbitration, a Public Assistance applicant’s request must meet all three of the following conditions: The dispute arises from a major disaster declared after Jan. 1, 2016; The disputed amount exceeds $500,000 (or $100,000 if the applicant is in a rural area, defined as areas with a population of less than 200,000 and outside of an urbanized area); and The applicant properly submitted a first appeal of FEMA’s determination to their regional administrator for their FEMA region. Under FEMA’s current regulation, an applicant or recipient may make a first appeal to the FEMA Regional Administrator. If the applicant or recipient is not satisfied with the result of the first appeal, they can submit a second appeal to the FEMA Assistant Administrator for the Recovery Directorate. The result of the second appeal is the final decision from FEMA. If the applicant or recipient does not submit a second appeal within 60 days, the result of the first appeal is the final agency determination. Applicants choosing arbitration would have their case heard by a panel of judges with the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals.
COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits
- Council on Foundations Comprehensive Coronavirus Legislation Guide: Information
- AmeriCorps Funding for national and local organizations: Information
- Navigating the CARES Act for Nonprofits: Information
- Cultural Heritage Resource: The HENTF COVID-19 Resource Hub has multiple resources to help cultural heritage and creative communities.
- FEMA: Certain Private Nonprofit Organizations (PNPs) are eligible to apply for funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Information
- Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders: COVID-19 philanthropic response and recovery funders available here.
NIST Economic Decision Guide Software
The Economic Decision Guide Software (EDGe$) Tool brings to your fingertips a powerful technique for selecting cost-effective community resilience projects. This decision support software is designed to support those engaged in community-level resilience planning, including community planners and resilience officers, as well as economic development, budget, and public works officials.
Navigating the CARES Act for Nonprofits
The U.S. Chamber Foundation hosted an online briefing on how 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can benefit from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The U.S. Chamber also created a guide for nonprofits and small businesses with everything you need to know about how to apply for relief under the CARES Act, including eligibility, requirements, and application guidelines.
Banking on Soil Health
Farmers implementing conservation practices that improve soil health aren’t just hoping for better crop yields, they’re banking on them. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust recently released case studies highlighting the economic benefits of implementing soil health management practices.
Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Quarterly Stakeholder Webinars
The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) hosts quarterly stakeholder webinars to provide updates on the office’s work to our stakeholders. Led by SETO Director Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, these webinars discuss SETO’s priorities, as well as provide information on current and upcoming activities. Webinars will be announced in SETO’s newsletter. What do you want to hear about? Send us your questions before the webinar to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus
The Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) provides disaster payments to producers to offset losses from hurricanes, wildfires, and other qualifying natural disasters that occurred in the 2018 and 2019 calendar years. WHIP+ covers losses of crops, trees, bushes, and vines that occurred as a result of those disaster events.
Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk
“Mitigation Matters,” new research from The Pew Charitable Trusts, identifies 13 states or cities that have adopted policies resulting in effective flood mitigation. To learn more, read the overview, which includes lessons from these jurisdictions, or go directly to briefs below about each city or state. The policies are organized into three categories: 1) using existing funds for mitigation by redirecting revenue and spending, 2) creating revenue sources, and 3) establishing smarter regulations.
Building Science Releases FEMA P-2055: Post-Disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guide
This Guide was developed as required by the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, Section 1241: Post-disaster Building Safety Assessment and targets three main stakeholder groups.
- Architects, engineers, and building officials directly involved in post-disaster building safety evaluation.
- Emergency managers and health officials who may be involved in management of the post-disaster evaluation process, including environmental health issues.
- Policy makers at state, local, tribal, and territorial and federal government levels.
FEMA P-2055 summarizes and references best practice guideline documents, identifies recommended improvements and needs, and provides interim recommendations for issues without best practice guidance.
Topics in Climate Change Adaptation Planning Webinar Series
Recordings are available under the Trainings and Events tab at:
Hazus Webinar: Economic benefits of open space
Tina Lund, principal at Urbanomics, and Michael Haggerty, associate at Starr Whitehouse, discuss their use of Hazus to document the economic benefits of converting low-lying areas in East Harlem to open space. The project considers both social resilience and climate change – increasingly important areas of discussion for the risk assessment community.
USDA Helps Rural Businesses Make Energy Efficiency Improvements, Adopt Renewable Energy Systems in Texas
State Director for Rural Development Edd Hargett today announced that USDA is investing over $1 million to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses lower energy costs. USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). “By lowering energy costs, these businesses and ag producers can become more competitive and create more jobs that will help to make rural communities prosper,” said Hargett.
Business & Industry CARES Act Program Webinars
Pre-recorded | Webinar for Lenders
Pre-recorded | Webinar For Businesses and Producers
USDA held two webinars for external stakeholders to provide an overview of the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee CARES Act Program requirements. Recordings are now available to watch at your convenience.
Taking on Racism? Don’t Overlook Climate Justice
COVID-19 has made what was invisible visible. Read more on a discussion from The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Adrienne Hollis about the importance of multi-layered solutions in achieving climate justice.
Opportunity Zones Toolkit Volume 2: A Guide to Local Best Practices and Case Studies
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a second volume of the Opportunity Zones Toolkit featuring new case studies and resources for state and local economic development organizations, communities, philanthropies, impact investors and other stakeholders. Also see HUD’s Federal Actions Taken to Support Opportunity Zones.
Turning the Tide: Opportunities to Build Social Equity through Federal Flood Disaster Policy
Current federal disaster policy puts low-income people, people of color, and other vulnerable populations at a disadvantage during disaster recovery. The American Flood Coalition’s recent three-part article series, Turning the Tide, presents nearly a dozen opportunities to build social equity into federal policy. The first article explores how program eligibility leaves out low-income people and Black-owned land; the second discusses how policies could be improved for renters, non-English speakers, and unbanked populations; and the third covers how assistance applications are too complex, hurting small towns and people with time constraints.
Leveraging Behavioral Science to Close the Flood Insurance Gap
This article from the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center outlines a recent study done to evaluate ways that behavioral science can help policymakers increase flood insurance coverage in their communities.
NCSL Disaster Mitigation and Recovery Releases New Publications
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ Public-Private Partnership on Disaster Mitigation and Recovery has just released two new publications. Information
- 2019 Disaster Mitigation Legislative Brief. This report details enacted disaster mitigation legislation from 2019 state legislative sessions, across flood, wind, seismic, and wildfire events. Information
- In Case of Emergency: The Role of the Legislator in Natural Disasters. This first-of-its-kind guide details the role of the state legislator in natural disasters both within and beyond the legislative chamber and across disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Information
Hazard Mitigation Assistance Working Group Seeks New Members – Due July 10
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Division is accepting applications to join the External Stakeholder Working Group. The working group is a collaborative working group with the purpose of increasing engagement and transparency with non-federal partners in hazard mitigation. To be considered as a member of the working group, download and complete the Expression of Interest form. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however, to be considered for the 2021 to 2023 term, submit the completed form to FEMA-HMA-ESWG@fema.dhs.gov by July 10.
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Division Year In Review
This document provides an overview of the activities and accomplishments over the course of the year. It also highlights success stories that demonstrate how the HMA Division advances FEMA’s strategic goals of building a culture of preparedness and readying the nation for catastrophic disaster through their grant programs.
Hazard Mitigation Stories from FEMA Region 9: Level Up Audio Project!
The Level Up Audio Project features five 10- to 15-minute conversations with individuals who are making hazard mitigation planning and action a priority. If you have any suggestions for topics please email email@example.com.
Recorded Webinars and Self-Paced Trainings:
- Explore NACo’s Past COVID-19 Webinars: here
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- * Independent Study Classes: here
- * FEMA Podcasts (here) and PrepTalks (here)
- * Hazard Mitigation Stories from FEMA Region 9: Level Up Audio Project!
- * Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): here Rural Gateway
- * International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM): here
- * International Economic Development Council (IEDC): here
- * Natural Hazards Center: here
- * Rural Design Webinar Series: here
HUD Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit
The HUD Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit offers links to a broad series of PDFs on ways to stabilize families during and after COVID-19.
Updates from Think Tanks and Academia: (all resources have been previously shared)
- John Hopkins: School of Public Health Expert Insights ; Center for Applied Public Research
- Brookings Institution: COVID-19 Resources
- Council of Development Finance Agencies COVID-19 Online Resource Database
- PEW Charitable Trusts: Stateline
- IEDC: Reopen Your Economy
- The Path to Zero: Harvard Global Health Institute and others joined forces to launch new COVID Risk Level map and COVID suppression guidance for policy makers and the public. The Key Metrics For COVID Suppression framework provides clear, accessible guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 across the nation. Key Documents: Key Metrics for Suppression; TTSI Policy Briefing; TTSI Technical Handbook; Path To Zero Slidedeck; Listen: NPR Story
Find Something New:
FindSomethingNew.org can help workers of all ages and backgrounds identify the right path for their career goals by recommending multiple educational pathways, providing aptitude testing, offering a directory of critical resources for child care, food assistance, internet access and more. Educational pathways featured include online learning, professional certification programs, associate’s degrees, and vocational, technical and trades education.
FY 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs Application Deadline: Ongoing
The Economic Development Administration is providing resources to economically distressed communities and regions to help finance construction, non-construction, planning, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects.
EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center
EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center is an information and assistance center, identifying water infrastructure financing approaches that help communities reach their public health and environmental goals
FEMA BRIC Webinars Now Available
During the month of July, FEMA hosted the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) summer engagement series. This series featured FEMA subject matter experts and partners discussing key elements of the newly developed program. As the Notice of Funding Opportunity will be published in the next few weeks, FEMA published the recordings of these webinars as a resource to state, local, tribal and territorial entities considering an application for this year’s funding. These informative sessions included an overview of the process and eligible projects for funding. The following recorded sessions are available on YouTube: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant Program and The Meaning of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Name. Additional recorded webinars from July 15, July 22 and July 29 will be available soon. More information about the BRIC Summer Engagement Series is available online
New FEMA Mitigation Online Grants Award System Coming Soon
FEMA’s new online grants award system will be operational this fall for select hazard mitigation grant funding notices and awards. The system, called Grants Outcomes, or FEMA GO, is the result of a multi-year effort to modernize and transform the way FEMA conducts grants management. Federal Fiscal Year 2020 Flood Mitigation Assistance and Building Resilience Infrastructure and Communities pre-disaster mitigation grant programs will all use the FEMA GO system. Once the application period opens on Sept. 30, grant applicants must use FEMA GO to apply for funding through Flood Mitigation Assistance or the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant programs. Legacy projects will continue to reside in eGrants. FEMA provided FEMA GO training to staff in its 10 regional offices and to the offices of their respective state, local community, tribes and territories. There will also be a FEMA GO Help Desk to offer support with creating and submitting FMA and BRIC grant applications. For more information about FEMA GO, visit the FEMA website. To view the Notice of Funding Opportunity for Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities, search for DHS-20-MT-047-00-99 on Grants.gov. To view the Flood Mitigation Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity, search DHS-20-MT-029-000-99 on Grants.gov. For more information on the programs, view the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and Flood Mitigation Assistance fact sheets.
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) – Tools and Resources
U.S. Department of Treasury online resource offering tools and links and a list of current certified CDFIs, many of which make loans to small businesses and provide technical assistance.
Articles of Interest:
- Why States Are Limiting COVID-19 Testing
- The Pandemic is Speeding Up Workforce Automation
- States Shield Businesses from COVID-19 Lawsuits
USDA Disaster Recovery Resources:
USDA partnered with FEMA and other disaster-focused organizations and created the Disaster Resource Center. This central source of information utilizes a searchable knowledge base of disaster-related resources powered by agents with subject matter expertise. The Disaster Resource Center website and web tool now provide an easy access point to find USDA disaster information and assistance. USDA also developed a disaster assistance discovery tool specifically targeted to rural and agricultural issues. The tool walks producers through five questions that generate personalized results identifying which USDA disaster assistance programs can help them recover from a natural disaster.
Fifteen Years After Katrina: Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?
The 2020 Hurricane season marks fifteen years since Hurricane Katrina left its toll on multiple states. After the storm made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005 in Hancock County, Mississippi with storm surge of 30 plus feet, it remained a Category 1 hurricane 150 miles inland. One of the most destructive hurricanes in our nation’s history, more than 1,800 lives were lost. In response, FEMA obligated more than $25 billion in federal funding to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama following the storm in Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation grants. Data collected from Hurricane Katrina has shaped our understanding of storms’ impact on buildings and on the people who rely on those buildings for protection. These invaluable lessons learned have shaped the evolution of hazard-resistant building code and prompted FEMA to launch an outreach campaign across the country to encourage communities to adopt updated codes. Despite the evidence that communities that adopt the most recent hazard-resistant model building codes and standards are far more resilient than those that do not, only 1/3 of the Nation’s communities have done so. Know your code. Ensure your building meets or exceeds modern building codes to safeguard and minimize the damage your property sustains and protect the lives of those who rely on it. The three resources below will aid you in preparing for this Hurricane season and the next. Being fully prepared this hurricane season means knowing the risks posed to the buildings you frequent and knowing the steps necessary to protect your family, friends, employees, and customers. Take informed steps today: Go to https://inspecttoprotect.org/ today to determine the building codes used in your community today! Visit ready.gov/hurricanes to learn your risks and find resources that will properly equip you for hurricane season. The publications listed below are available for free from FEMA Building Science Branch with a focus on building safety. Search for their titles in the following publication library to get your copy today! Flood Publications; High-Wind Publications; Hurricane Publications; Mitigation Assessment Teams. Every year communities are at risk of flooding due to hurricanes, snow melt, run off after fires, draughts. The adoption of building codes would protect entire communities from losing what they taken years to build.
Regulations for Opportunity Zones and Brownfields Redevelopment
The Internal Revenue Service provides an overview of information to help local governments meet goals for sustainable and equitable development.
The National Hurricane Program support tool, HURREVAC (HURRicane EVACuation), is actively supporting emergency management decisions at many levels during the 2020 hurricane season. HURREVAC provides dynamic hurricane forecast data, advanced and tailored decision support products and reports, high resolution storm surge modeling and exploration, and embedded storm simulations and training. During Hurricane Laura, more than 1,800 emergency managers were simultaneously utilizing HURREVAC to access forecast and timing information. Since the release of the web-based HURREVAC tool, more than 16,000 state, local, tribal, territorial and federal emergency managers have registered for access to the system. In preparation for an active Atlantic hurricane season, FEMA’s National Hurricane Program hosted HURREVAC training webinars for more than 2,000 emergency managers. HURREVAC is a collaborative effort between the National Hurricane Program partners. Recently, advancements were enabled through partnership with DHS Science and Technology and development contributions from MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
EPA RELEASES WATER UTILITY COVID-19 FINANCIAL IMPACT TOOL
Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool can help drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (“water”) utilities assess the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the utility’s cashflow. This tool leads water utilities through questions that can determine how their revenues, expenses, and cashflow have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The spreadsheet automatically calculates the changes for a utility’s revenues and expenses by looking at current 2020 monthly financials versus the average monthly financials of the utility’s 2019 audited financial statement. Water utilities can use the tool each month to keep a running total of their cashflow. Use of the spreadsheet is voluntary and its results are provided for your information only. EPA is not collecting either the data entered by utilities or the results.
NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures (2020 Edition)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the release of FEMA P-2082, 2020 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures. The release of the 2020 NEHRP Provisions marks the tenth edition of this widely recognized and reputable technical resource document since its first edition in 1985.