2024, heralded by FEMA as the “Year of Resilience,” is now well underway. As such, it is unsurprising that the agency has made a second funding opportunity available through its Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) — and it’s a substantial one. In fact, at $150 million, it is triple the amount previously expected to be available through this round of funding.   

The Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF program is authorized under Section 205 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It is the first Hazard Mitigation Assistance program to provide capitalization grants to eligible entities for revolving loan funds. Eligible entities include any state in the U.S., territories, the District of Columbia, and federally recognized tribal nations having received a major disaster declaration.   

The program intends to provide an opportunity for these entities to make low-interest loans to local governments most in need of financial assistance, including low-income geographic areas and underserved communities. Funds are offered to support transformational projects that reduce risk to multiple hazards, support adaptation to future conditions, and equitably reduce the impact of all disasters nationwide. This includes those fueled by the intensifying effects of climate change.   

Interestingly, the Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF is the only FEMA grant program under which extreme heat is explicitly eligible. According to the agency, the program allows applicants to use loan funds for projects or activities that reduce the impacts of drought and prolonged intense heat. Further, FEMA will not require applicants to submit a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) for projects.   

However, it is important to note that the agency will not be selecting projects or awarding loans. Its goal is to remove barriers and increase equitable access to this funding source to achieve even more mitigation projects locally, thereby increasing the nation’s resilience to natural hazards and climate change.   

Requirements for project funding through the revolving loans include:   

  1. Increasing the resilience of major economic sectors or critical national infrastructure and reducing the risk of harm to natural and bui