FAQs About FEMA And HUD Grants

By Amy Reinholds

Lyons Planner Rosi Dennett has been meeting with landowners whose homes were damaged by the flood. Here are some frequently asked questions about two forms of federal grant money that can be available: one from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and one from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The source of these FAQs is the Boulder County

rebuilding website at http://www.bouldercounty.org/flood/faq/pages/rebuildingfaq.aspx. If anyone is seeking additional information, contact Rosi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or (720) 220-1451.

FEMA – Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) 404 “Buyout” Program FAQ:

What is the purpose of the program?
According to FEMA’s website, the HMGP, also known as the “buyout program” or “404 funding,” funds certain long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The program was created to reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property due to future natural disasters.

How do I participate in the program?
Participation in the program is completely voluntary. However, FEMA has very specific guidelines regarding which properties can qualify, and not all destroyed or substantially damaged properties will be eligible. For more detailed information, see the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program FAQ. Residents that would like to indicate interest in this program should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call toll-free (866) 953-2325. Indicating interest does not commit you to anything, nor does it guarantee eligibility.

How much funding will be available?
According to both FEMA and the state, funding for this program is limited, so there will be important decisions to make regarding the most effective use of funds. Funds will be allocated by FEMA to the state based on a percentage of the total FEMA disaster assistance expenditure amount in Colorado. Local governments such as Boulder County will be sub-grantees and receive funds through the state, but the exact amount for Boulder County is not yet known.

How can funds be used?
Uses can include: Property acquisition for willing sellers (a.k.a., the “buyout program”), elevation of flood-prone structures, minor flood control projects, and other critical measures that reduce risk of future loss. The state, in collaboration with local governments, ultimately will determine the use of HMGP funds in Colorado.

What is the process and timing of the program?

We are told that this program is a long process from start to completion, so participating residents will need to plan accordingly, which we realize can be difficult. Buyouts can take one to three years to complete. The state made a funding announcement in mid-December 2013. A Notice of Intent was due by local governments to the state by January 13, 2014, and final applications are due March 14. Applications will be approved between two and nine months after submittal, depending on complexity. There will be a second round of funding applications due in August 2014. Boulder County has been analyzing substantially damaged areas and properties in the flood plain to determine potential project areas, and will submit highest priorities for the first round of funding. The state has the ultimate responsibility for selecting and prioritizing projects that we will submit.

HUD Community Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) FAQ:

What is the purpose of the CDBG-DR?
The purpose of CDBG-DR is to help communities recover from a major disaster. CDBG-DR is intended to address “unmet need” in disaster recovery, in other words recovery needs not addressed through FEMA and Small Business Administration assistance as well other federal funding sources. This funding cannot duplicate other funding received, including all federal and grant funding resources except for private loans.

How is the funding allocated?
Individuals do not apply for CDBG-DR funding directly. The State will submit an Action Plan (application) that describes the needs and projected uses of CDBG-DR in Colorado. Local governments such as Boulder County will be sub-grantees and will manage the funds in each community, directing resources to recovery priorities that meet the program requirements of CDBG-DR.

How can funds be used?
Funding is divided into three categories: Housing, Public Infrastructure, and Economic Development. There are a number of eligible uses for CDBG-DR funding, for example: housing rehabilitation and construction, rental and homeownership assistance, purchase of damaged properties, job creation and retention, marketing campaigns for economic development, code enforcement, and repair of ditches, streambeds, waterways, and private roads and bridges. CDBG-DR requires that 50 percent of funds be used for activities that principally benefit low- to moderate-income individuals.

How do I make sure my unmet needs are addressed?

It is important that local governments such as Boulder County are aware of all of the unmet need in the community so that resources can be prioritized appropriately. The Long-Term Flood Recovery Group, a group of private, non-profit, faith-based and local government community members coordinating individual long-term recovery efforts, will be conducting in-depth needs assessments for individuals in Boulder County. Ideally, the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group’s resources and CDBG-DR funding will work in collaboration to ensure residents in Boulder County can recover as fully as possible.

How much funding will be available?

In December, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced an allocation of nearly $63 million for all of Colorado. Eighty percent of that amount will be directed to Boulder, Weld and Larimer Counties. Additional allocations might be granted to Colorado in the future.

What is the process and timing of the program?

We are told that this is a slow-moving pool of funds. Following Secretary Donovan’s announcement and publication in the Federal Register, Colorado has ninety days to submit their Action Plan (application). HUD then has forty-five days to review the Action Plan. Based on that timeline, we anticipate CDBG-DR funding could begin flowing any time between March and June 2014.
For more information, see HUD’s CDBG-DR website.

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