Updated: Aug 15
Many small, suburban communities have heard about FEMA grants that aren’t directly tied to disaster recovery, but few are aware of a unique funding opportunity that bypasses the usual competitive grant programs. We are excited to present FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Congressionally Directed Spending Program, which sets itself apart from traditional grant programs in several ways. In this post, we will explore how this program works, the scope of funding available, the application process, and the cost-sharing arrangements. We will also highlight the importance of seeking professional guidance to navigate this program successfully. If you're looking for a guaranteed funding opportunity for your project, then keep reading to learn all about this program and what it can offer you and your community.
In this episode of UrbanHydro, Shauna Urlacher explores the power of pre-disaster mitigation congressionally-directed spending. Discover how communities can access funding for projects that reduce risk from natural hazards and why this program moves faster than traditional FEMA grants. Stay tuned to discover the secrets of navigating this unique opportunity!
00:01:27 Fiscal year 2023 example: faster funding, preselected projects.
00:03:06 Experienced grant writer guides through the tricky program.
Securing Funding Through the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Congressionally Directed Spending Program
Imagine you're set to receive funding for a project without dealing with the fiercely competitive nature of many grant programs. Yes, you read that right! Your project can receive funding without contesting with other applications — all courtesy of FEMA's unique Pre-Disaster Mitigation Congressionally Directed Spending Program.
PDM CDS IS Not Your Typical Grant Program
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Congressionally Directed Spending Program sets itself apart from the usual competitive FEMA grants. The fundamental difference? It's not FEMA selecting projects—members of Congress do that. So when FEMA announces the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), the projects are earmarked for funding, and eligible applicants are already selected. This process requires you to be ahead of the game, so your project is on the list of pre-selected projects.
Key Takeaway: All you have to do is take the formal step of submitting a sub-application. Your project is preselected by a congress member.
During the 2023 fiscal year, a whopping $233 million was allocated for the PDM CDS grant program, which provided funding for 100 projects across the nation. That amounts to an average of $2.3 million per project. Impressive, right? However, it is crucial to note that funding under this program isn’t available every year. On the bright side, once funds are available, the award process moves swiftly compared to other FEMA grant programs.
Navigating the FEMA Application Process
Despite the benefit of pre-selection, meeting the typical grant criteria for eligibility remains crucial. The project must be backed by a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan. The costs of the project must be justifiable with commensurate benefits, and it is expected to mitigate risks from a natural hazard. A bit of effort is needed to prepare the sub-application, but the guaranteed funding makes that effort worthy.
Sharing The Cost— The 75-25 Rule
Just like any other FEMA grant program, the PDM Congressionally Directed Spending Program operates on a 75-25 cost share basis. What does this mean? FEMA shoulders 75% of the project cost, leaving the remaining 25% to non-federal funding. The community then has three years to complete the project and tie up all paperwork.
Professional Guidance—A Sure Way to Navigate Eligibility
The nitty-gritty of this program can be challenging to navigate, but expert guidance simplifies the process. An adept FEMA grant writer can walk you through the process, meeting all stringent submittal deadlines. For further insight into the entire FEMA grant application process, you can delve into my previous blog or watch the video that demystifies the grant application process. This is indeed a win-win for communities and their leaders!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key criteria that projects must meet to be eligible for PDM grants?
Projects must meet normal grant criteria, including being covered under a current FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan, reducing risk from a natural hazard, and demonstrating feasibility by having the project benefits outweigh the costs using FEMA’s Benefit-Cost Analysis Software. Also, there is a required local cost share of 25 percent non-federal funding.
Why is it important for projects to be pre-selected and earmarked by members of Congress in the PDM congressional-directed spending program?
Projects being pre-selected and earmarked by members of Congress in the PDM congressional-directed spending program is important as it ensures that funding is allocated to specific projects, providing communities and their leaders with designated resources for pre-disaster mitigation. Furthermore, this process helps streamline the overall grant application process.
What are the advantages of having projects preselected before the Notice of Funding Opportunity is announced?
Having pre-selected projects for the pre-disaster mitigation program before the NOFO is announced allows for a faster process. Waiting for the NOFO means missing the opportunity to submit a project for consideration. With preselected projects, communities with pre-selected projects can submit their sub-applications during the open application period.