2020 journal article

A National Evaluation of State and Territory Roles in Hazard Mitigation: Building Local Capacity to Implement FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants


By: G. Smith n & O. Vila n

author keywords: hazard mitigation assistance grants; state hazard mitigation officer; local capacity building
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
13. Climate Action (Web of Science)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: January 4, 2021

This article describes the findings of a national survey of State Hazard Mitigation Officers (SHMOs) in U.S. states and territories in order to gain a greater understanding of the roles that they play in assisting local governments to build the capacity required to successfully develop and implement Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-funded Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants, an important but understudied aspect of hazard mitigation governance. The research questions focus on: (1) How states and territories enable local governments to develop and implement HMA grants and (2) SHMOs’ opinions regarding their perceived capacity and effectiveness in assisting local governments to develop and implement HMA grants. Results show that while states and territories are relatively well-equipped to perform general administrative duties required by FEMA, SHMOs expressed wide variation in their capacity to assist local governments to develop and implement HMA grants. This was particularly evident with regard to the delivery of specific technical assistance measures required to develop HMA grants. Survey responses also highlight modest levels of participation in FEMA-designed efforts to delegate responsibility to states and territories and low levels of participation in programs that offer pre-application funding to local governments to help them develop HMA grant applications. These findings should concern FEMA as the agency embarks on the implementation of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, an ambitious pre-disaster hazard mitigation grant initiative.