Dhs Announces Over $2.5 Billion In Nationwide Grants
Recipients of $1.66 billion in grants to states and an additional $855 million in grants to urban areas to fund first responders and support state and local resources necessary to prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism and other disasters have been announced by the Department of Homeland Security. Totaling over $2.5 billion in direct assistance to state and local governments for their preparedness and planning needs, these funds augment the nearly $9 billion already delivered to state and local governments and first responders since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
Under the state Homeland Security Grant Program, each state, territory and the District of Columbia receives a portion of the $1.66 billion in grants based on a formula consisting of a baseline amount plus the population of the state or territory.
The funding is used for equipment, training, planning and exercises. The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) provides additional resources to those areas with greater security needs by allocating $855 million in a formula that considers a number of factors including population and population density; critical infrastructure; threat information; formal mutual aid cooperation; and law enforcement investigations and enforcement activity.
The recipients of this round of FY’05 Homeland Security grants will benefit from new measures recently adopted following recommendations from a task force convened to expedite the flow of funds.
State and local governments may now have up to 120 days to draw down funds in advance of purchase and investments, as compared to the three to five days allowed previously, so that even small localities have the buying power to purchase expensive or backordered equipment.
The Department of Homeland Security also has hosted training seminars and coordination calls with states and urban areas to ensure that they are coordinating to prevent delays in the funding flow. Combined with a streamlined online application process, these statutory and educational measures will help Homeland Security funds flow as fast as possible to the hands that need them. The Department of Homeland Security is ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being used to meet the real security goals and objectives identified by the states. All 56 states and territories and the UASI areas have conducted risk, capability, and needs assessments, and have developed multi-year homeland security strategies as a condition of grant awards.
The department maintains oversight controls with onsite monitoring of all states, territories and UASI areas, and our reporting requirements provide additional oversight to ensure that states and localities spend their grants for the homeland security priorities identified in their strategies.
“With these new grants, the Department of Homeland Security is building upon nearly $9 billion already allocated to equip, train and prepare our first responders and local law enforcement to prevent incidents and to be ready should one occur,” said C. Suzanne Mencer, Executive Director of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. “I have visited states and communities and observed restored emergency operations centers, sophisticated equipment, multi-discipline exercises and new networks of communication and planning. I am inspired by the efforts conducted by these homeland security professionals across the country. This new round of grants will enhance the work already underway and address the new priorities the department and our state and local partners continue to identify.”