RICHMOND – On behalf of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) coordinates an annual stakeholder-driven review process to allocate more than $11.5 million through various federal grant programs to enhance emergency preparedness and security throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funds will be administered by VDEM to support a wide array of emergency preparedness and security operations, equipment replacement, training, planning, and exercise programs by local governments and entities. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program funds, also administered by VDEM, are used to enhance security by eliminating security gaps identified at nonprofit facilities in Virginia. Grant allocations will be made available on or before November 9, 2021.
The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) is one component of six programs announced by FEMA in the FY 21 grant cycle. VDEM received 131 grant requests totaling nearly $10.8 million for the competitive portion of these federal funds. Fifty-four projects were awarded a total of $3.3 million from competitive SHSP funds. The Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center (VMASC) at Old Dominion University manages a peer-review process conducted by Virginia’s public safety stakeholders for competitive grants, and scores proposals based upon benefit-cost ratios. Awards fund a diverse group of programs such as community outreach and preparedness programs, interoperability efforts, sheltering, equipment enhancement, and exercises.
Emergency managers throughout Virginia have worked to become more strategic about allocating limited funding to meet the greatest needs with VDEM support. Nearly 140 local leaders from emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMS representing communities throughout Virginia participated in evaluating potential projects to allocate this limited funding to have the largest impact.
FEMA has implemented five national priority services areas for the FY2021 funding cycle. The new federal requirements necessitate from 5% – 7.5% contribution from each of the following four national priority investment areas:
- Enhancing Cyber Security (including election security) – 7.5%
- Enhancing protection of soft targets/crowded places – 5.0%
- Enhancing information and intelligence sharing – 5.0%
- Addressing domestic violent extremism – 7.5%
- Addressing emergent threats (such as unmanned aerial systems and weapons of mass destruction) – 5.0%
The total national propriety funding is requirement 30% of the award.
Public safety stakeholders will be allocated $2.5 million in non-competitive grants from this year’s SHSP program to fund 29 projects sustaining 12 hazardous materials teams, seven technical rescue teams, four incident management teams, five radio communications caches, and the Virginia Fusion Center.
Hampton Roads Urban Area Security Initiative (HR UASI)
$3 million was awarded to HR UASI to address the unique needs of this high-threat, high-density urban area.
Non-Profit Security Grant
This grant provides funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to eligible nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack in Virginia. VDEM received 49 project applications from both the statewide and Hampton Roads program totaling just over $8 million, with $2.7 million being funded by FEMA.