In early 2012, HGA began evaluating our grant management support services to our clients who are recovering from Hurricane’s Katrina/Rita and Gustav/Ike. Since 2007, our focus has been providing support to long term disaster recovery programs supported by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. The main effort being project management support to the State of Louisiana’s $1.4 billion infrastructure program; composed of 434 projects covering 31 parishes (“counties”) and 300 communities. Additionally, we are providing project management and consulting services for 73 projects for eight parishes (“counties”) affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, totaling approximately $123M in CDBG-DR infrastructure projects.
With a review of HGA staff capabilities, and in light of the deep relationships developed with our parish clients throughout Louisiana, a strategic decision was made to work with our existing client base to develop additional grant management opportunities in the area of long term recovery supported by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) funding that is often matched with CDBG-DR long term recovery funding to meet FEMA requirements.
FEMA defines Mitigation as “the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters”. FEMA funds three programs to address mitigation activities at the state and local levels:
Flood Mitigation Assistance Program – provides funds for projects to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings that are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on an annual basis.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation – provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and projects on an annual basis.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program – provides funds to assist in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster.
These programs provide funding, generally requiring a state or local match, for mitigation activities including the following:
Barriers or Levees
In October 2012, HGA was awarded a contract to support Plaquemines Parish’s HMGP program funded by over $30M in FEMA funding allocated for recovery from Hurricane Katrina. This project provided HGA’s first opportunity to support a major mitigation program. The Plaquemines scope of work included the reconstruction of damaged homes, elevation of residential structures and implementing mitigation measures, such as the wind retrofit of multiple government buildings, road elevation projects and critical drainage projects.
HGA Grant Managers began immediately to work with Plaquemines parish officials to identify eligible projects, develop a recommended ranking structure for projects and implement a web-based tracking system for parish projects. HGA submitted ten grant applications for FEMA funding, including 413 residential structures and 6 Governmental Infrastructure projects. $66,734,050 in project funding was requested on behalf of the parish. All applications were approved under disaster recovery programs for Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Isaac. Our Grant Managers are currently working with parish officials and one on one with homeowners across the parish on a structure by structure basis to raise, reconstruct or otherwise mitigate the damage of future flooding events for Plaquemines residents.
Building upon the success of this project, HGA has established a team of mitigation experts and is currently managing projects for 5 Louisiana Parishes that include planning; government building wind retrofitting; road elevations; reconstructions, elevations, acquisition of homes and drainage improvement projects. As we come to the end of 2014, HGA is under contract to deliver over $100M in FEMA HMA funded projects to provide a more sustainable future to many Louisiana residents. We fully expect to work with our neighbors to complete these projects and with our clients to deliver on our commitments.