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Grants OverviewPhoto of a stack of money


The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) manages both non-disaster grants as well as those received after a Presidential Disaster Declaration. The department is also dependant on funding from these grants for its planning, training, exercise, mitigation, response and recovery activities.


Since Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2003 Iowa has seen more than a 75 percent reduction in homeland security grant funding from the federal government. This trend is expected to continue. Federal funds are used to ensure local responders throughout the state are well exercised, trained and equipped to respond to any disaster or emergency. In addition, these funds are used so that local entities have up-to-date emergency plans and citizen education programs.

In contrast to the reduced funding for most homeland security grant programs, there has been a slight increase in funding from the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG). State and local emergency management agencies are dependent on these funds to do the important work of responding to both emergency management and homeland security disaster events. EMPG funds that are passed through HSEMD to local agencies cover on average 25 percent of local needs. While the state and local emergency management agencies are grateful for the funding, the reality is that more funding is critical to future responses.


Non-Disaster Grants

The Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) is designed to assist in the development, maintenance, and improvement of state and local emergency management capabilities. It provides support to state and local governments to achieve measurable results in key functional areas of emergency management.


The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program is intended to provide financial and technical assistance as well as national direction and guidance to enhance state, territorial, tribal, and local hazardous materials emergency planning and training. The HMEP grant program distributes fees collected from shippers and carriers of hazardous materials to eligible Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) for hazmat planning and training. HMEP grant funds are administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. HSEMD serves as the administering agency in Iowa for HMEP grants.


The Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) consists of sub-programs, two of which are relevant to Iowa: the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP-S). The purpose is to support state and local efforts to prevent terrorism and other catastrophic events and to prepare the nation for the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to the security of the United States. Iowa receives funding to implement investments that build, sustain, and deliver the 32 core capabilities essential to achieving the National Preparedness Goal (the Goal) of a secure and resilient nation. Grants support core capabilities across the five mission areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery, based on allowable costs. Iowa HSEMD is the administering agency in Iowa for HSGP grants.


FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs provide funding opportunities both pre- and post-disaster. The two non-disaster grants are the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program and the Flood Mitigation Assistance program.

The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster. The goal of the PDM program is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time, also reducing reliance on Federal funding from actual disaster declarations.


The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program was created to assist States and communities in implementing measures that reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There are three types of FMA grants available to states and communities: planning, project, and management cost grants. FMA grants are part of the Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs.


Disaster Grants

Disaster grants are only received following a Presidential Disaster Declaration.


Under the Public Assistance program, FEMA awards grants to assist state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations with the response to and recovery from disasters. The program provides funding for debris removal, implementation of emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of instrastructure. The program also encourages protection from future damage by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process. The state works with FEMA to manage the program and administer the funding.


Hazard Mitigation funding also becomes available when a Presidential Disaster Declaration is made. Eligible applicants of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), part of HMA (see above), include state agencies and local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribal governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations (PNPs) according to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Section 206.221 (e). The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 also requires that a FEMA-approved local hazard mitigation plan be in place prior to FEMA awarding HMGP project funds.


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Applying for Grants FAQs


Q: What non-disaster grants does Iowa HSEMD manage?

A: HSEMD manages four types of non-disaster grants:

  • Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)
  • Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant (HMEP)
  • Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants
  • Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)
    • Nonprofit Security Grant Program – State (NSGP-S)
    • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)

Q: Who can and how can one apply for a non-disaster grant from Iowa HSEMD?

A: Funding opportunity descriptions and other necessary information regarding a grant opportunity are posted on the “Open Grants” listing on HSEMD’s grant management website also known as EMGrants. Each specific grant funding opportunity description defines eligibility (who can apply) which may differ from grant to grant. Read through the opportunity making note of the scope of the grant, priority capabilities, the eligibility requirements, and deadlines. Contact the grant point person with specific questions.

Q: What are some of the policies and procedures required for an applicant organization to have in place if subawarded?

A: The written policies and procedures meeting specific requirements are identified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 2, Part 200. A copy of the most recent regulations are found at the eCFR website here. The Subpart D-Post Federal Award Requirements section specifies financial and program management standards, property standards, procurement standards, record retention and access, etc.

Q: I am looking for other grant funding opportunities beyond Iowa HSEMD, where do I go?

A: Grants offered by federal agencies can be found on The getting started checklist is a great place to begin.


Some Iowa state agencies utilize to post current grant opportunities.


Local fire departments may be interested in the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Local police departments may be interested in the following sites which may offer law enforcement grant funding:


About My Grant FAQs


Q: Is my cost reimbursable? ("Can I get paid for this?")

A: Federal grants won’t pay for just anything. There are rules and regulations about what can be reimbursed. Here is a general overview of how to determine if your cost can be reimbursed.


Allowable, Allocable, and Reasonable
The first test to see if a cost is reimbursable is to see if it is allowable, allocable, and reasonable. The rules for this can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 2. The Subpart E-Cost Principles can be viewed electronically at the eCFR website. Click here for a direct link.

  1. Allowability – To be allowable, a cost must be reasonable, it must be given consistent treatment through application of generally accepted accounting principles, and it must conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in the sponsored agreement or in 2 CFR.
  2. Allocability – To be allocable, a cost has to have been incurred solely to support or advance the work of a specific award or project.
  3. Reasonableness – To be reasonable, a cost must not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances. The cost must be able to withstand public scrutiny.

Practical Applications
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine if your cost is a reimbursable cost:


1. Will the cost conform to the rules and regulations in 2 CFR? For example, if you hire an employee, the employee will have to complete time and effort reporting which will have to match up to payroll journals. If you are purchasing a piece of equipment, you will need to request prior approval from your awarding agency.


2. Will this cost be the same as a similar cost charged to a different funding source? For example, two employees doing similar jobs for different funding sources should be paid a similar wage. Or, if one department charges another department for copy-related fees, they should use the same rate for all of their customers.


3. Does the cost fit into the Scope of Work of the project? Does the cost fit into the scope of the grant? If your project focuses on training for NIMS compliance, then you won’t be purchasing a car. Even though a car is considered an eligible expense under certain grants, if your scope of work does not include a need for a car, the cost will not be reimbursed. For equipment purchases, you can check the Authorized Equipment List to see if an item is eligible under your particular grant. Written approval from the awarding agency is needed prior to the purchase of equipment.


4. Does the guidance for this grant restrict this type of cost? Each grant has different requirements, and many have maximums and minimums set for certain types of costs, such as personnel. Check with your grant guidance and awarding agency to make sure that your cost does not fall under one of these restrictions.


5. Will the cost be incurred inside the grant performance period? No costs incurred before or after the grant performance period are considered eligible. If you have questions regarding your performance period, consult your grant agreement.


Q: What is the Environmental and Historical Preservation (EHP) requirement and where do I find information about it?

A: The Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) program integrates the protection and enhancement of environmental, historic, and cultural resources into FEMA's mission, programs and activities; ensures that FEMA's activities and programs related to disaster response and recovery, hazard mitigation, and emergency preparedness comply with federal environmental and historic preservation laws and executive orders; and provides environmental and historic preservation technical assistance to FEMA staff, local, state and federal partners, and recipients and subrecipients.


See the FEMA website for EHP guidance. Additional information can be found in Bulletins 271, 329 and 345 in the Grant Programs Directorate web page of the FEMA website.


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