FEMA Safe Room Rebate Program
Status Update: 10/29/14
We are excited to announce that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has partially funded the City's Safe Room Rebate grant program! We say partially funded because we originally requested 500 safe room rebates. However, FEMA only funded 350. All 500 of the original applications were vetted by FEMA, but only 350 applications will be processed. What that means is, we will be using an alternates list of those remaining vetted applications.
The City of Edmond, Department of Emergency Management created the application process and made application for this mitigation grant to FEMA in 2012. There were many steps and requirements involved in the lengthy process, and we appreciate your patience. Now the wait has paid off! Hundreds of new family safe rooms will soon be installed in Edmond, providing severe weather protection for many hundreds of Edmond's citizens.
Status Update: 8/6/14
Well, we met the new requirement levied on us in May. We provided, with the help of our fantastic GIS department, a picture of every applicant’s house. We wanted to accomplish this internally rather than asking our applicants for pictures; ended up being more quick and efficient, with no additional burden to our citizens. Once that was done, we then accomplished a “cross walk” audit, with OEM, of every application. We did this to minimize, as best we could, any future hic-ups or surprises. That went well. Now the latest news.
We met with our Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management program counterparts on August 1st.
We discussed the current FEMA grant funding options and the current status of our Safe Room Grant application. FEMA is conducting an annual review of Disaster 4117 (basically the May 2013 tornados) Mitigation Grant fundings. This is a process to determine just how much grant monies remain to fund additional mitigation project grants such as Edmond’s. FEMA will probably meet with the State Director in the next two weeks to discuss their findings and to firm up what projects might yet receive funding. Our grant application will be considered in those discussions. We were told that our application is one of just a few that is “reviewed (by FEMA) and ready for award”. So… bottom line… more good news… “ready for award”… but no funding yet.
Status Update: 5/6/2014
We had hoped to have some good news about our grant by this time. Up until yesterday, we had provided everything we were asked to. Then a new requirement was placed on us. We learned from the State Hazard Mitigation Officer that we now have to provide a picture of each applicant’s property as part of the grant Statement of Work, and this must be accomplished prior to formal grant consideration. To be clear, this requirement is being placed on us by FEMA (and they cited the document Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance, June 2010, as their reference document), but was communicated to us by the State Office of Emergency Management.
So… we are in the process of finding the easiest and most efficient way to comply with this new requirement. With the help of our GIS experts, we hope to have this accomplished this week.
Status Update: 4/4/2014
We met with our Safe Room Rebate grant counterparts at the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management on April 3, 2014. We could categorize this meeting as a pre-award audit, but the bottom line is… there is no funding yet. Discussions on this were very positive. We reviewed the current applications and addressed several issues, such as, applicants not matching the ownership records of the County, applicants that are trying to “double-dip” rebates (again, you can only receive one), and applicants that have withdrawn their applications. A new requirement for the City of Edmond is to provide a Grant Administration Plan. The wording was something like this, “When you received your funding, we need to know how you’ll administer the grant.” So it was “when”, not “if”.
We also covered some issues the State is experiencing with the Sooner Safe program that we can address in advance of our award. These include awardees that are purchasing safe rooms that don’t meet FEMA standards, incomplete paperwork, paperwork that is required for closure, and the new FEMA wording regarding “design, construction and installation” of safe rooms. By the way, just because a company says they meet FEMA standards doesn't mean they do. A reputable company can prove they do.
With this level of detail discussions, we ARE getting closer to a FEMA approval, but we are sorry to say, we aren’t approved yet. And no, there was no estimate of when that approval might be coming.
By the way, just a side note about the FEMA standards. Just because a company says they meet FEMA standards doesn’t mean they do. A reputable company can prove they do. Many people in the Sooner Safe program are having problems getting their rebates because the companies they are dealing with are not providing safe rooms that are designed, manufactured or installed to those standards. So… caveat emptor.
Status Update: 2/11/2014
There have been minor issues with our Safe Room Rebate grant application, but none of issues, such as providing the latitude and longitude coordinates for each applicant property, have held up the process. The biggest hurdle was the updating of the Hazard Mitigation Plan. The good news is FEMA tentatively approved our Hazard Mitigation Plan in late December, subject to the city’s adoption of it. It was adopted at the January 13th City Council meeting and is now back in the hands of FEMA for final review. Once we get FEMA’s “Final Approval”, we will meet with the State and obtain details regarding the amount of funds available and the required funding paperwork.
We are hoping these funding discussions will occur before March.
Status Update: 10/21/2013
The City of Edmond is getting closer to receiving the funds for the Safe Room rebates.
After the May storms and the resultant Presidential disaster declarations, the mitigation funds started to “flow in”. Some jurisdictions, like Oklahoma City, have already started receiving the grant funds; they had their grant application in before Edmond.
Where we stand: Oklahoma Emergency Management and FEMA are still pretty busy with the summer storm recovery processes. A State representative for this project has communicated several times recently. She passed along some questions the State and FEMA had and we’ve answered them all so far. The questions were related to such things as our official Flood Zones, our flood maps, and the exact location of each of our applicant properties. They are also reviewing the recently updated Hazard Mitigation Plan, another prerequisite before receiving mitigation grant funds.
The bottom line for now is… no funding yet but we’re getting closer.
There has been some confusion about the State’s safe room rebate program, called SoonerSafe, and Edmond’s program. These are two different grant programs and they are funded by two different Federal grant programs or “pots of money”. A person can apply for both, in fact we encourage that. However, a person can’t “win” both rebates. If you receive a State rebate, you are eliminated from Edmond’s program, and vice versa.
Status Update: 5/22/2013 The Edmond Safe Room Rebate program is funded by the Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). HMGP provides grants to States and local governments, like the City of Edmond, to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures AFTER a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the future loss of life and property, due to disasters. HMGP is only available, when authorized under a Presidential major disaster declaration, in the areas of the State included in Governor’s disaster assistance request. The amount of HMGP funding available to the applicant is based upon the estimated total Federal assistance provided by FEMA in a disaster recovery.
With the recent severe weather disasters and the resulting emergency declarations, we anticipate that HMGP funds will eventually be released by FEMA, but that process is not the highest priority at this time. Near-term efforts will be directed at the response and immediate recovery processes. When the funds are available and we can move forward in the Safe Room Rebate process, we will post an update to our web site.
Status Update: 2/20/2013
The City of Edmond has heard nothing further from the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management or FEMA since initially submitting the Safe Room Rebate grant application. The initial feedback was positive in that the grant application was complete and “clean”. But, with the lack of available mitigation funds and the recent responses required by hurricane Sandy in the northeast, we don’t expect to see any funding for the Safe Room Rebate Program for some time. This does not mean the rebate program is “dead”. Applications will remain on file and the City will remain in the queue, waiting for the grant funds to become available. The funds may not be available for a year… or even two… but we won’t “pull” our grant package.
A frequent question that has been asked is where do the City of Edmond Safe Room Rebate funds come from?
Answer: They come from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds which FEMA administers.
About The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP):
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) was created in 1988. Authorized under Section 404 of the Stafford Act Title 42, United States Code (U.S.C.) 5170c and administered by FEMA, the HMGP was created to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. The program provides grants to States and local governments, like the City of Edmond, to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the future loss of life and property, due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery phase following a disaster. HMGP is only available, when authorized under a Presidential major disaster declaration, in the areas of the State included in Governor’s disaster assistance request. The amount of HMGP funding available to the applicant is based upon the estimated total Federal assistance provided by FEMA in a disaster recovery. Again, HMGP grants are only available after a major disaster declaration by the President of the United States. As a side note, homeowners cannot apply directly to FEMA for this program, but local governments, such as the City of Edmond can, if they have a FEMA recognized and approved Hazard Mitigation Plan, which Edmond does.
How much money is available under HMGP?
The funding is allocated using a “sliding scale” formula based on the percentage of funds spent on Public and Individual Assistance for each Presidentially declared disaster. For States with a FEMA-approved Standard State Mitigation Plan, the formula provides for HMGP funding up to 15 % of the first $2 billion of the estimated aggregate amounts of disaster assistance. The percentages decrease as the amount of assistance increases. These grant funds may be used to pay up to 75 % of the eligible project costs. The remaining 25 % has to be shared at the State and/or local level.
The application process for the FEMA Safe Room Rebate Program is now closed. Applicants that submitted their applications should received notification of approval by the end of July.
The Safe Room Rebate program is contingent on the City of Edmond receiving funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA may approve the applications without immediately providing funding, so funding may be delayed. The maximum allowable rebate amount is 75% of the construction cost not to exceed $2,000. There is a limited amount of funding available and Edmond residents with completed and FEMA approved applications (meeting FEMA criteria) will enter into a selection process through the City of Edmond.
FEMA criteria includes: Residents must reside within Edmond corporate city limits. Safe Room construction must not begin prior to the applicant receiving an approval of funds letter from the City of Edmond. The Safe Room must meet shelter/safe room construction requirements of FEMA 320 (see requirements).
Safe room rebates are for the recipient’s principle residence only. To ensure all standards and criteria are met, the City of Edmond requires a building permit for Safe Room/Shelter construction and installation. For information regarding the permitting process please call the City of Edmond's Building Services department at 359-4780.
The selection process will consist of using a random generator to assign a number to each application. The top 500 applications will be submitted to FEMA for approval and funding. Please note, the selection process is not based on a first come first serve basis.
The application can be filled in via the online form and it MUST BE PRINTED, SIGNED AND RETURNED TO THE CITY OF EDMOND no later than June 30 at 5 p.m. FEMA requires a signature for an application to be complete. Those without internet access can obtain an application at 24 E. First St., City Clerk’s office. Completed applications can be mailed to the address on the applications or turned in at the City Clerk’s office.
Please contact the program administrator, Brook Pintens at 405-359-4378 with any questions you may have regarding this program or the application process. Project updates are also provided on the answer line 216-SAFE.
Frequently Asked Questions about Safe Room Rebate Program