Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

US Department of Homeland Security Offers Preparedness Funding Opportunity for State and Local Governments

As COVID-19 continues to stress disaster preparedness capabilities of municipalities across the nation, gaps in readiness have become more apparent. Globally, the United States (US) has the largest number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 2.8 million cases nationwide. In some regions of the country, COVID-19 case numbers are declining; while in others, case numbers continue to rise. All the while, our country has been faced with growing civil unrest, as well as the ever-present threat of natural disasters and other hazards. Soon, we will enter the height of hurricane season in the East and the peak time for wildfires in the West.

When one community faces a hazard or threat, neighboring communities often experience cascading impacts from the issue. The impacts of COVID-19 will likely be with us for a long time to come, making preparedness all the more critical for both business continuity and public safety. Yet, as state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments consider investments in community preparedness (such as mitigation projects, readiness planning, and other response measures), cost is a frequent limiting factor.

To address this, Congress established the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP) in 2018. This grant program, designed to make progress towards the DHS’s and Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Preparedness Goal, seeks to close catastrophic incident preparedness gaps, support existing regional preparedness initiatives, and encourage innovative disaster readiness solutions through investment in capabilities at the state and local level.

FY 2020 RCPGP and Pandemic Preparedness

In the DHS Appropriations Act of 2020, Congress appropriated $10 million for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 RCPGP. In FY 2020, each RCPGP award will not exceed $1 million; therefore, it is anticipated that between 10 and 20 awards will be made nationwide.

New for FY 2020, FEMA has added pandemic preparedness as a program objective; focusing on Community Lifelines and Core Capabilities essential to pandemic planning and response activities. Acknowledging the current COVID-19 crisis, eligible applicants are encouraged to submit project proposals that address regional pandemic preparedness gaps and identify the specific, fundamental community services and response capabilities that will be improved through the proposed project.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

State and territorial governments are eligible to apply if one or more of the 100 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), per the Census Bureau’s 2019 Population Estimates, is located within their state or territory. Likewise, local governments are eligible if they are located within one of the 100 most populous MSAs. For a complete list of the 100 most populous MSAs, see Appendix B of the DHS Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) FY 2020 RCPGP. Moreover, collaboration at the state, territorial, and local level is encouraged, as only one application will be accepted per MSA.

Applications will be reviewed and scored by demonstrated need, project design, impact, and budget; bonus points will be given to applications that address regional pandemic preparedness, benefit multiple states or localities, or commit to 10 percent or greater cost share in the proposal.

A complete application will include the following elements:

  • Project Narrative
  • Budget Worksheet
  • Completed Application Forms and Agreements
  • Written Statement

Eligible applicants should submit their application at least one week prior to the 5 p.m. EDT, July 15, 2020 application deadline. The anticipated award date is September 1, 2020. 

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Kyle McPhee, currently Director of Preparedness Programs for Hagerty, is an experienced management professional who has worked with international, national, regional, state, local and private-sector organizations in the areas of emergency management, homeland security, business continuity, and public health preparedness.  His expertise includes project management, planning, facilitation and evaluation related to various topics including catastrophic incidents, mission ready packages, mass care, and evacuation.