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VDEM to Host 13 Sub-Regional Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants Equity Workshops

This update was published by Policy and Communications
Published: June 8, 2021

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) will be hosting thirteen sub-regional workshops across 40 local jurisdictions this summer. Building off of the COVID-19 Health Equity Workgroup efforts, Deloitte performed an analysis of vulnerable populations in areas with riverine and coastal flood zones.  Deloitte’s Health360 platform provides a data-driven 360-degree view of an individual community. The result was identified census tracts that would likely require the most individual needs, resources, and services following a disaster, and therefore should be the focus area for implementing hazard mitigation projects (the long-term reduction of risk). The workshops are intended for local and regional government professionals in the fields of planning/zoning, engineering, building/code officials, public utilities, public works, transportation, emergency management, environmental justice, historic preservation, floodplain management, and grants administration.  

“The goal of this analysis was to inform the Commonwealth of communities that may need additional technical assistance in applying for and administering federal grants to protect the most vulnerable populations,“ said Curtis Brown, State Coordinator of Emergency Management. “Post-disaster federal resources are limited. If an individual lost their home to a disaster and does not have the appropriate insurance coverage, the national average payout for the FEMA Individual Assistance program is $4,000 with a maximum of $36,000 so our focus is on protecting these vulnerable communities before the next disaster.”   

In 2020, FEMA introduced a new grant program named Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC), to go with the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and the post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which together are the three hazard mitigation assistance grants that VDEM administers. In 2020 BRIC had $500 Million in federal funding, for which Virginia was one of 5 states to submit more than $200 Million in grant applications.  VDEM will open the application period for BRIC and FMA in July, and HMGP is currently available as a result of the February 2021 Ice Storm federal disaster declaration. Additional statewide grant webinars will be scheduled at a later date. BRIC funding in 2021 may be as high as $1 Billion.

The summer sub-regional workshops will involve a pre-workshop survey so that the state is more informed and get the local perspective of flood risk in these census tracts, or any others that the locality identifies.

“We want to have a good understanding of what types of solutions have been discussed, what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what is their perfect solution(s) to reducing long-term risk,” said Debbie Messmer, State Hazard Mitigation Officer. “This way, we can gear our future grants technical assistance, outreach, and training appropriately for the need.” 

The workshops will also include information on funding opportunities from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center (VMASC) at Old Dominion University will be facilitating the sub-regional workshops.  The workshops are intended for local and regional government professionals in the fields of planning/zoning, engineering, building/code officials, public utilities, public works, transportation, emergency management, environmental justice, historic preservation, floodplain management, and grants administration.  State agencies and local volunteer and faith-based organizations with an interest in these areas are also invited to join. 

All workshops will be held from 10 am to 12 pm:

Localities and workshop date: 

Essex, Mathews, Westmoreland ​– June 28 
Alleghany, Covington, Roanoke City​ — June 30​ 
Emporia, Franklin City, Southampton, Suffolk, Sussex ​– July 7 
Buena Vista, Rockingham​ — July 13 
Danville, Halifax, Henry​ — July 14 
Bland, Grayson, Smyth, Wythe​ — July 20 
Giles, Pulaski​ — July 22​ 
Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson​ — July 29​ 
Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Tazewell​ — August 3 
Lee, Scott, Wise​ — August 10 
Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach​ — August 12 
Dinwiddie, Petersburg, Richmond City​ — August 18 
Accomack, Northampton​ — August 26 

For additional information on these workshops opportunity, please visit our website at https://www.vaemergency.gov/hma-workshop or contact us at vdemgrants@vdem.virginia.gov.

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