Disaster Recovery Reform Act Updates

On October 5, 2018, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) of 2018 was signed into law as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018. The law contains 56 distinct provisions that require FEMA policy or regulation changes for full implementation, as they amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

October 2019

In October 2019, FEMA published the DRRA Annual Report. This report provides an overview of the DRRA, highlights its alignment with FEMA’s strategic goals, and describes FEMA’s efforts to implement the law including the provisions pertaining to HMA.

Recent updates to provisions related to Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) are below.

Section 1205: FEMA Releases New Wildfire and Windstorm Mitigation Job Aid

DRRA Section 1205 authorizes the use of financial assistance to help reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by a wildfire or windstorm.  FEMA may provide this assistance under Stafford Act Section 203 for pre-disaster mitigation, and under Stafford Act Section 404 for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).  DRRA Section 1205 lists 14 eligible activities.  These activities are eligible projects within existing HMA program requirements.  Section 1205 only applies to Pre-Disaster Mitigation and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. 

Link: HMA has developed a Job Aid on how these activities can be incorporated in eligible mitigation project applications, and a crosswalk to document the program guidance sections and efficiencies that support these activities.

Section 1215: FEMA Updates Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Management Cost Frequently Asked Questions

DRRA Section 1215 expands the definition of management costs (Stafford Act Section 324) to include both direct and indirect administrative expenses by the state, local, tribal or territorial government.  Section 1215 also authorizes management costs under HMGP for up to 15 percent of the total grant award, with up to 10 percent for recipients, and up to 5 percent for subrecipients.

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions webpage is now updated to address questions collected from stakeholders regarding the implementation of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Management Costs (Interim) Policy #104-11-1 (Interim Policy). These Frequently Asked Questions provide information on general program requirements, eligible management costs activities, application processes and monitoring.  FEMA will continue to update the site as needed to address questions from stakeholders.

DRRA Section 1231 Fact Sheet: Acquisition of Property for Open Space and Policy Clarification

October 2019

Through its Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs, FEMA funds the voluntary acquisition of hazard-prone properties from private owners.  Property acquisition is not new for FEMA; however, DRRA Section 1231 contains new requirements for the project notification process and emphasizes a community’s responsibilities regarding acquired land.

Link: The DRRA Section 1231 Fact Sheet outlines these new requirements for state, tribal, territorial and local governments and supplements existing FEMA guidance on property acquisition projects per the DRRA.Link: FEMA also released a policy clarification on the Eligibility of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Applications with Pre-Award Demolitions.  This policy clarifies that when private individuals have demolished damaged structures using private funds or other non-federal funds prior to application for HMA funding, the properties will now be eligible for inclusion in HMA project applications if the demolition is not connected to the project.  The demolition costs cannot be included in the project application. 

Section 1241(a): FEMA Implements P-2055, Post-disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guidance

DRRA section 1241 directs FEMA to develop guidance for building experts to use when they evaluate structures for safety and habitability after a disaster.  In November 2019, FEMA published the FEMA P-2055, Post-disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guidance as required by DRRA Section 1241: Post-disaster Building Safety Assessment. The report is on the current state of practice for post-disaster building safety evaluation, including recommendations related to structural and nonstructural safety and habitability. 

FEMA P-2055 summarizes and references best practice guideline documents or provides interim recommendations for issues without best practice guidance.  It also identified recommended improvements and needs, including a primer for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments that have the authority to set standards or policy related to the implementation of post-disaster evaluations, to protect the design professionals who volunteer as evaluators, and legislation to create the authority to evaluate and post buildings, deputize evaluators, and restrict occupancy.