DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for $1.87 Billion in Preparedness Grants

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the release of the funding notices for eight different types of preparedness grants.

Terror Attacks, Major Disasters Targeted in Funding

The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities.

The Fiscal Year 2021 grant guidance will continue to focus on the nation’s highest-risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats, and national priorities. This year, the Urban Area Security Initiative will enhance regional preparedness and capabilities by funding 31 high-threat, high-density urban areas. This represents Congressional intent to limit these funds to those urban areas that represent up to 85% of the nationwide risk.

As the threats we face evolve, so too must the grant programs intended to prepare communities for those threats. To that end, DHS has identified five critical priority areas for attention in the FY 2021 grant cycle: cybersecurity, soft targets and crowded places, intelligence and information sharing, domestic violent extremism, and emerging threats. Grant recipients under the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will be required to dedicate a minimum of 30% of awards to address these five priority areas: cybersecurity (7.5%, an increase of at least $25 million across the country); soft target and crowded places (5%); information and intelligence sharing (5%); domestic violent extremism (7.5%) and emerging threats (5%).

As with previous years, new capabilities that are built using homeland security grant funding must be deployable if needed to support regional and national efforts. All capabilities being built or sustained must have a clear linkage to the core capabilities articulated in the National Preparedness Goal.

The previous Administration had proposed changes to the risk methodology and program framework. After careful review and consideration, the current Administration decided not to implement all proposed changes, including equal weighting for Threat, Vulnerability, and Consequence components in the risk methodology; and making the SHSP and UASI programs fully competitive.

We also recognize that the terrorism national threat environment has changed considerably since these grants were first authorized in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. As such, the Department will engage in a coordinated, collaborative, and systematic process to review the risk methodology and program frameworks with our state, local, tribal and territorial partners.

Allocations for Fiscal Year 2021

The following grants are non-competitive and awarded to recipients based on a number of factors:

  • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP): Statutory minimums and relative risk as determined by DHS/FEMA’s risk methodology
  • Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI): Relative risk as determined by DHS/FEMA’s risk methodology
  • Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Program: Relative population
  • Intercity Passenger Rail (IPR) Program – Amtrak: Congressional direction

State Homeland Security Program—provides $415 million to support the implementation of risk-driven, capabilities-based state homeland security strategies to address capability targets. 

Urban Area Security Initiative—provides $615 million to enhance regional preparedness and capabilities in 31 high-threat, high-density areas.

  • For both the state homeland and urban area grants, 30% of the awards must address the five priority areas of cybersecurity, soft target and crowded places, information and intelligence sharing, domestic violent extremism, and emerging threats. Additionally, 25% of these grants must be dedicated to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities, and 80% of these grants must be obligated from the state to local or tribal governments within 45 days of receipt.

Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)—provides more than $355 million to assist state, local, tribal and territorial governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.

Intercity Passenger Rail —Amtrak Program—provides $10 million to Amtrak to protect critical surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and increase the resilience of the Amtrak rail system.

Competitive grants include:

Operation Stonegarden—provides $90 million to enhance cooperation and coordination among state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal law enforcement agencies to jointly enhance security along the United States land and water borders.

Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program—provides $15 million to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.

Nonprofit Security Grant Program—provides $180 million to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. This year, $90 million is provided to nonprofits in UASI-designated urban areas, and $90 million is provided to nonprofits outside of UASI-designated urban areas located in any state or territory.

Port Security Grant Program—provides $100 million to help protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management, and maintain or re-establish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.

Transit Security Grant Program—provides $88 million to owners and operators of public transit systems to protect critical surface transportation and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.

Intercity Bus Security Grant Program—provides $2 million to owners and operators of intercity bus systems to protect surface transportation infrastructure and the traveling public from acts of terrorism and to increase the resilience of transit infrastructure.

All preparedness funding notices can be found at www.grants.gov. Final submissions must be made through the non-disaster grants system located at https://portal.fema.gov.

Further information on DHS’s preparedness grant programs is available at www.dhs.gov and http://www.fema.gov/grants.