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DHS Grant Program 2011 Blog Series

In preparation for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Grant Guidelines for FY 2011's release in the coming month, GovWin will be releasing a three-part blog series outlining the major DHS grant programs, grant allocations, and grant priorities.

The top DHS grant programs for FY 2011 include the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant (UASI), the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP), the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). These programs were identified as top DHS grant programs for state and local Agencies due to their focus on communications and alerting equipment; network and security systems; and training programs.

The UASI aims to provide funding to highly populated, major metropolitan areas. These are further classified into either Tier I or Tier II Urban Areas. Tier I areas are usually outlined as the top 10 cities in the U.S., and Tier II areas include 54 other large metropolitan areas across the country. The UASI focuses on law enforcement terrorism prevention-oriented planning; organization; training; exercise; and equipment. Most commonly, state and local agencies use these funds for interoperable communications equipment, alerting equipment, and surveillance networks.

The SHSGP is available to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Funding is provided to implement strategies and initiatives included in state preparedness plans. Like the UASI, state and local agencies use this program to fund interoperable communications equipment, alerting equipment, and surveillance networks, as along with emergency management planning and information sharing networks.

The PSGP provides funding for ports and other critical infrastructure to combat nonconventional threats and terrorism. Its main goal is to prevent a major disruption of commerce at all port areas. The U.S.'s 360 commercial port activities in 2007 contributed approximately $3.15 trillion to the U.S. economy (AAPA). State and local agencies use this grant program for prevention and awareness systems, training and exercises, and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Implementation.

The AFG program provides funding directly to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical services (EMS), allowing them the necessary tools for emergency response personnel to protect the health and safety of the public. The most common uses for this grant are staffing to increase the number of frontline firefighters, and projects that enhance safety from fire and related hazards. State and local agencies will use this grant for firefighting equipment, training costs, and technology.

The UASI and the SHSGP are both formula grants and use a different mathematical equation to determine funding. To determine the funding level for each urban area, the UASI mathematical equation encompasses population, crime, risk, and other variables. Based on this equation, the top UASI funding recipients from the last ten years (2000-2010) are:

  • California Office of Homeland Security
  • New York State Division of Criminal Justice
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Engineering Extension SVC
  • Florida Division of Emergency Management
  • Illinois Emergency Management
  • Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
  • New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety
  • Ohio Department of Public Safety EMA
  • DC Justice Grants Administration

Tier I Urban Areas are usually allocated about two-thirds of the total funding appropriated, and the Tier II Urban Areas receive the remaining one-third. The California Office of Homeland Security received the most funding over the last 10 years with $141 million. In FY 2010, $832.5 million was appropriated to the UASI program. This number is around four percent higher than what was appropriated in FY 2009. Based on the DHS's FY 2011 budget request, the UASI program is estimated to reach $1.1 billion in available funding for FY 2011 – a 32 percent increase from FY 2010.

The SHSGP is also a formula grant, and like UASI, uses a mathematical equation encompassing population crime, risk, and other variables to determine the funding level for each state. Each state will receive a minimum allocation under the SHSP using the thresholds established in the 9/11 Act. All 50 states and the District of Columbia will receive 0.36 percent of the total funds allocated. In FY 2010, $842 million was appropriated to the SHSP. This number is around three percent less than what was appropriated in FY 2009. Based on DHS's FY 2011 budget request, the SHSP is estimated to reach $1.05 billion in available funding for FY 2011 – a 24 percent increase from FY 2010.

The PSGP and AFG recipients are both determined by different methods. For example, based on a fiscal year analysis, PSGP applicants are divided into three groups. The Group I and II ports receive a pre-designated target amount of funding, while Group III ports compete for the remaining funds through individual applications. The AFG sets limits on how much an agency can request based on their population, and awards funding with a more traditional application method.

The IECFG and EOC grant programs have been historically very important for the Department of Homeland Security; however, no funding has been requested for FY 2011 for these programs.

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