National Mitigation Investment Agenda

For a Stronger and Safer America

As the number of catastrophes and the federal investment in post-disaster recovery continue to skyrocket, it’s time for the U.S. to look at how to best save lives and tax dollars before we are hit by the next major natural disaster. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the life- and cost-saving benefits of pre-disaster mitigation, yet the U.S. continues to invest nearly 14 times more in post-disaster mitigation than it does in loss prevention. It’s time to Make America Resilient Again by learning from past disasters and shifting our reliance on reactive emergency recovery toward proactive disaster preparation measures by streamlining the federal approach to disaster spending and incentivizing stronger building standards.

Learn More about the Dangerous State of Disaster Spending in the U.S. today


BuildStrong Coalition

National Mitigation Investment Agenda

We must reform our nation’s broken disaster spending model to save lives and tax dollars by encouraging states to invest in pre-disaster fortification and ensuring that federal disaster response is expedient, effective, and focused on preventing future destruction.


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Encouraging States to Build Stronger

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    THE ISSUE

    The federal government continues to invest more in post-disaster recovery than it does in pre-disaster prevention, despite research demonstrating that every $1 invested pre-disaster saves $3-4 post-disaster.

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    THE SOLUTION

    Competitively award federal funding to help states proactively invest in stronger building standards pre-disaster, without requiring additional federal spending.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Creating a National Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which awards funding to states to develop, implement, and enforce an approved statewide building code and other cost-effective mitigation activities
  • Funding this grant program by shifting a percentage of the money appropriated to the Disaster Relief Fund to be invested pre-disaster to take advantage of the research-proven cost savings
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    THE ISSUE

    Many states take a “wait and see” attitude because it’s easier to rely on federal post-disaster dollars – which cover the bulk of disaster recovery costs regardless of whether a state invested in pre-disaster mitigation – than to proactively reform broken state investment systems.

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    THE SOLUTION

    Create federal incentives for states to invest proactively.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Increasing the federal disaster recovery share to 85% (from 75%) for states that have taken FEMA-approved actions to reduce future disaster costs and losses
  • Providing FEMA with the discretion to lower the federal share to 60% for states that have failed to invest proactively
  • Providing states that have FEMA-approved resilient mitigation plans, including statewide building codes, in place pre-disaster with an extra 4% in post-disaster state hazard mitigation grants

Improving the Federal Response

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    THE ISSUE

    The U.S. is stuck in an endless cycle of “rebuild and repair” where structures are built back to the same outdated building codes after a disaster.

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    THE SOLUTION

    Help states build to stronger standards post-disaster to prevent future damage.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Establishing post-disaster hazard mitigation assistance funding that can be used to develop and enforce state building codes to fortify states against future disasters
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    THE ISSUE

    The federal response to disasters is fragmented (e.g. 19 agencies handled the Hurricane Sandy response), leading to a slower response that is often wasteful and confusing for disaster-stricken communities to navigate.

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    THE SOLUTION

    Create a unified federal disaster response approach with strict spending standards to ensure effectiveness.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Giving FEMA administrative control over all disaster response
  • Applying FEMA’s benefit-cost analysis – a strict numerical assessment to determine whether the benefits of a project are sufficient to justify the cost of implementing it – to all disaster relief funds

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