New state program loans money to communities for disaster relief
MICHIGAN (WNEM) - Michigan’s weather can change in a minute and now the state will receive funds when it causes big problems, like natural disasters and hazards.
”The one thing we know with climate change is storms are happening with greater frequency and intensity and often times our infrastructure are simply not designed to handle that,” said Sen. Gary Peters.
Which is why Michigan is receiving funding from the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund Program to help communities invest in projects that will protect against severe flooding, rising water levels, coastal erosion, and other natural hazards.
Peters authored Safeguarding Tomorrow through the Ongoing Risk Mitigation Act, which was signed into law in 2021.
“The legislation that I wrote is now being implemented and will be available for communities across the state of Michigan. It provides loans up front, and they are very low interest loans, and when those loans are paid back it’s a revolving fund that other communities will then be able to access,” Peters said. “So, our hope is that with this funding we’re going to be working to make Michigan more resilient to deal with storm events, particularly the flooding that we have seen all too often.”
Peters said this will save taxpayers an average of $6 for every $1 invested. The loans would reach communities quicker than FEMA’s traditional grants and provide local communities with the capital necessary to invest in more resilient infrastructure.
Thomas Sivak, FEMA Region 5 administrator, said this year Michigan will receive an initial $5.1 million.
“The revolving loan funds are intended to reach local governments most in need of financial assistance, including low-income geographical areas and underserved communities,” he explained. “Local governments can apply to participating entities for the loan funds to meet the non-federal cost share for the projects funded through other FEMA hazard mitigations programs.”
So far, 43 entities have already applied for funding.
”The proposals were submitted from across the state. We had proposals in the upper peninsula, lower peninsula, we had several from southeast Michigan, Petoskey, Saginaw, and more,” said Kevin Sweeney, commander of Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.
The funding is expected to be in place before the end of the year.
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