Your guide to the FY2022 FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program

Your guide to the FY2022 FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program
By Rachel Bradley, Ned Fernandez, and Kelli Reddick
Sep 7, 2022
FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program is an annual grant program that provides federal funds to implement natural hazard risk reduction activities. BRIC’s third year will have a historic investment of nearly $2.3 billion, more than double last year’s allocation, to mitigate natural hazards nationwide. The FY2022 BRIC program has a clear focus on climate resilience and promoting equity by targeting awards toward disadvantaged communities in line with FEMA's 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.

Here is a guide to the FY2022 FEMA BRIC program to help you navigate the grant process based on this year’s program priorities and FEMA’s decision-making process.

5 key program evolution takeaways

  1. Increased funding = increased opportunities. States and tribal set-asides have been doubled, and the National Project Competition will have $2.1 billion available.
  2. Clear direction on how equity will be quantified for evaluation criteria.
  3. Increased opportunity for direct technical assistance from FEMA.
  4. Greater emphasis on climate change and projects designed to reduce carbon emissions.
  5. New eligibility of cybersecurity activities as part of the larger project.

Program eligibility

Federal funds are available to states, U.S. territories, federally-recognized tribal governments, and local communities with FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plans.

FEMA will provide financial assistance to eligible BRIC applications for the following activities:

BRIC funding evolution

The BRIC program has evolved from FY2021 and reflects the following changes for FY2022:

  • Increased the State/Territory set-aside to $112M
    • Doubled the funding cap to $2M per applicant with $1M allocated for eligible hazard mitigation planning activities
  • Doubled the tribal set-aside from $25M to $50M
    • Applicants can use up $2M for C&CB activities
  • Increased the National Competition total from $919M to $2.1B.
    • Applicants can submit an unlimited number of applications with a maximum federal share request of $50M per subapplication.

BRIC decision-making process

FEMA’s decision-making process for awards will be comprised of three basic review tiers: Eligibility and Completeness, Technical Evaluation, and Qualitative Evaluation

FEMA BRIC FY2022 chart

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BRIC guiding objectives

  1. Infrastructure projects
  2. Projects that benefit disadvantaged communities as referenced in EO 14008
  3. Projects that incorporate nature-based solutions including those designed to reduce carbon emissions
  4. Climate change adaptation and resilience projects
  5. Projects proposed by applicants who adopt and enforce mandatory tribal-, territory-, or state-wide building codes based on the latest published editions of building codes
  1. Support sub-applicants through C&CB to identify mitigation actions and implement projects that reduce risks posed by natural hazards
  2. Encourage and enable innovation
  3. Promote partnerships and high-impact investments with a focus on critical services and facilities, public safety, public health, and communities
  4. Provide opportunity to reduce future losses
  5. Promote equity by prioritizing 40% of program benefits to disadvantaged communities
  6. Support adoption and enforcement of building codes, standards, and policies that account for the effects of climate change and long-term risk reduction

Changes in points for the following technical evaluation criteria:

  • Mitigating risk to one or more community lifelines is no longer part of the criteria (-15 points)

System-based mitigation

Reflecting FEMA’s shift to "system-based mitigation," mitigating risk to community lifelines is no longer an evaluation criterion.

This shift acknowledges that community lifelines do not function independently but are rather integral pieces of a larger, interrelated critical system. For example, potable water, energy, and healthcare systems are all reliant on each other’s ability to function in order to maintain the health and safety of their communities.

A system-based approach to hazard mitigation prioritizes projects that mitigate risk to as many community lifelines as possible, thus minimizing the cascading impacts of loss and maximizing benefits to the broadest population.

  • +15 points for any community with a CDC SVI of 0.60 to 0.79 (See chart below)
  • +30 points (compared to 15) for Designation as an Economically Disadvantaged Rural Community, or a federally recognized tribal government, or any community with a CDC SVI of 0.80 or higher
FEMA BRIC CDC index FY2022

Expanded criteria and guidance for the following qualitative evaluation criteria:

  • Risk reduction/resilience effectiveness
    • In addition to addressing inequalities, ancillary benefits could include reducing carbon emissions, improving cybersecurity, and/or supporting the missions of NGOs and CBOs.
  • Implementation measures
    • The subapplication should demonstrate the ability and commitment to strong labor standards and how they will deliver high-quality work, avert disruptive and costly delays, and promote efficiency.
  • Community engagement
    • In addition to describing how communities, including overburdened and underserved communities, were engaged in the project development, projects should outline how such community planning will continue to help direct project execution.

Federal policy in action

Understanding President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, is key to developing compliant and competitive BRIC funding applications.

The BRIC program is prioritizing assistance that benefits disadvantaged communities, in accordance with Executive Order 14008 and the Justice 40 Initiative. FEMA states they will ensure that at least 40% of program benefits go towards disadvantaged communities.

Four of the six BRIC qualitative evaluation criteria reflect the need for subapplications to speak to how the project will benefit disadvantaged communities:

  1. Risk reduction/resilience effectiveness
  2. Population impacted
  3. Community engagement and other outreach activities
  4. Leveraging partners

BRIC reduces the non-federal cost share from 25% to 10% for Economically Disadvantaged Rural Communities (EDRC) (defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5133(a) as small impoverished communities).

In FY22 the BRIC program is using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) as a tool to identify areas as disadvantaged. Areas with CDC SVI greater than or equal to 0.6, as well as Economically Disadvantaged Rural Communities and geographic areas within tribal jurisdictions are considered disadvantaged.

Applicants and subapplicants should also consider how their work would potentially benefit disadvantaged communities and minimize negative impacts to any disadvantaged populations in their Benefit-Cost Analysis. Furthermore, disadvantaged communities no longer need a 1+ Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) to be eligible for consideration.

What’s next?

BRIC applications will open on Sept. 30, 2022, and close at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 27, 2023. However, the deadline for each applicant varies, with most falling in November and December. Furthermore, many applicants require subapplicants to submit pre-applications in September and October.

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Meet the authors
  1. Rachel Bradley, Senior Managing Consultant, Disaster Management

    Rachel is a hazard mitigation and policy expert with a decade of experience committed to serving organizations at the federal, state, and local levels, mitigating risk to natural hazards, and improving environmental sustainability. View bio

  2. Ned Fernandez, Vice President, Disaster Management Mitigation Lead + ICF Climate Center Senior Fellow

    Ned is a disaster management mitigation expert with experience in resilience planning, floodplain management, grant funding, and program management. View bio

  3. Kelli Reddick, Senior Managing Consultant, Disaster Management and Mitigation + ICF Climate Center Senior Fellow

    Kelli is a hazard mitigation and resilience planning expert with a special focus on FEMA floodplain management and Hazard Mitigation Assistance program implementation. View bio