The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is pleased to announce the release of applications for a first in the nation grant program focused on building community resilience amongst vulnerable individuals living in the areas of the state most susceptible to natural disasters. The program known as Prepare California is aimed at reducing long-term risks of disasters, such as flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, extreme heat, drought, or dam failure by investing in infrastructure improvements designed to protect communities. “We know that our vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted when a disaster strikes, said Ryan Buras, Deputy Director of Recovery Operations at Cal OES. “Prepare California targets funds to areas where they are needed most to improve infrastructure, mitigate disasters, and save lives.”Prepare California leverages funds approved in Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 State Budget, and is designed to unlock federal matching funds for community improvement projects that vulnerable communities would otherwise be unable to access.Prepare California will provide funding for communities that are the most socially vulnerable and at the highest risk for future hazard events. The state sought to identify communities by prioritizing California census tracts according to their estimated hazard exposures and social vulnerability.
FIGURE 1: A HMGP-funded vegetation management and defensible space project around the Lick Observatory in San Jose protected the facility during the 2020 wildfires.
Funding under the program may go to support projects addressing concerns in one or more of the following focus areas:
Mitigation and Preparedness Planning – Planning and regulatory actions that reduce long term disaster impacts such as the creation of local hazard mitigation or evacuation plans, building code creation and enforcement, and climate adaptation planning.
Local Capacity Building – Actions that will improve local capacity to mitigate, responds to, and Recovery from disasters. Includes partnership building, enhancing local resilience staffing support, scoping for future mitigation projects, establishment of resiliency programs such as Firewise communities or CERT programs.
Whole Community – Mitigation and preparedness plans and actions that integrate a Whole Community approach. Activities should engage the full capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors, such as businesses, faith-based and disability organizations, and the public, in conjunction with the participation of local, tribal, state, territorial and federal government partners while ensuing the inclusion of children, individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, those from religious, racial, and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and people with limited English proficiency.
Property Protection – Actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to property from natural hazards and their effects such as modification of buildings or structures to protect them from a hazard or removal of structures from a hazard area. Includes acquisition, elevation, relocation, establishment of defensible space, and structural and non-structural retrofit.
Public Education and Awareness - Actions to inform citizens and elected officials about disaster preparedness or individual and community actions to mitigate hazards.
Nature-Based Solutions to Hazard Risk - Actions that minimize hazard loss by preserving, mimicking, or restoring the functions of natural systems. Includes sediment and erosion control, stream corridor restoration, watershed management, forest and vegetation management, natural coastal protection, green stormwater management, and wetland restoration and preservation.
Emergency Preparedness - Actions that protect people and property during and immediately after a hazard event. Includes alert and early warning systems and the protection of essential facilities.
Structural Projects - Actions that involve the construction of structures to reduce the impact of a hazard. Includes dams, setback levees, floodwalls, retaining walls, and safe rooms.
FIGURE 2: A residential home elevation program along the Russian River mitigated the risk of repeated damage from flooding in Sonoma County.
$15 million in state funding dedicated to help jumpstart eligible communities in their development and implementation of resilience planning and activities.
Provides enhanced technical assistance and state funds to qualified entities to develop local initiatives that directly and primarily benefit eligible socially vulnerable and high hazard risk communities. Funds can be used for capacity building, preparedness activities, education, response/recovery planning, and/or future project scoping.
$85 million in state funding to cover the required 25% local cost share for eligible communities and projects applying for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP).
Provides cost share funding, as well as enhanced technical assistance to qualified entities applying for the FEMA HMGP to develop projects and activities that directly and primarily benefit eligible socially vulnerable and high hazard risk communities and reduce risk to loss of life and property from natural disasters within the FEMA HMGP requirements.
FIGURE 3: An HMGP-funded slope stabilization project within the burn scar of the Carr Fire prevented soil erosion and runoff into water sources. These photos show a slope before and after the hydroseeding and other erosion control measures were implemented.
January 18, 2022 – Cal OES Updates NOFO with PrepareCA funding opportunity
February 15, 2022 – PrepareCA Match HMGP NOIs due to Cal OES via the Engage Cal OES Portal
February 28, 2022 – PrepareCA Jumpstart Proposals due to Cal OES via email
April 8, 2022 – PrepareCA Match HMGP Subapplications due to Cal OES via the Engage Cal OES Portal
May 2022 – Cal OES announces PrepareCA Jumpstart selections
Summer 2022 – Cal OES announced PrepareCA Match selections
Early Fall 2022 – Cal OES submits HMGP and PrepareCA selections to FEMA for further review
2023 onward – FEMA awards projects after completing programmatic and Environment and Historic Preservation (EHP) reviews
FIGURE 4: Cal OES HMA staff visit a completed project in Humboldt County that replaced redwood water tanks with tanks made of fire-resistant materials to protect critical community water resources from wildfires.
Updated 2021 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
Socially Vulnerable and High Hazard Risk Community Map
Socially Vulnerable and High Hazard Risk Community Criteria & Methodology
PrepareCA Jumpstart Application
Engage Cal OES Portal (for HMGP NOI and Subapplication)
PrepareCA JumpStart Webinar
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Website
Interested applicants must submit their proposal application to PrepareCAJumpStart@caloes.ca.gov with "PrepareCA JumpStart" in the subject line and in the title of the proposal application.
See the NOFO for further details about funding priorities and eligibility.
Subapplicants interested in PrepareCA Match and HMGP must submit a Notice of Interest (NOI) via the Engage Cal OES Portal by February 15th. PrepareCA Match subapplicants should title their NOI in the following format: “PrepareCA: Entity Name, Project Name.” NOIs submitted after this date will be considered for the next available funding opportunity.
Cal OES will review NOIs for eligibility and then invite subapplicants with eligible projects to submit full grant subapplications, also via the Engage Cal OES Portal. Projects must be eligible, feasible, and cost effective per FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance. Projects must be stand-alone activities that will reduce risk as their primary benefit, but Cal OES strongly encourages the submission of projects that achieve multiple benefits.
Cal OES will review all subapplications and submit projects to FEMA in accordance with the State’s priorities. Cal OES will retain eligible subapplications that are not initially selected for submission to FEMA for future consideration when funding becomes available.
FEMA will then review the submitted applications for programmatic and environmental and historic preservation (EHP) compliance prior to obligating funds.
Projects must benefit communities that meet the Hazard Risk and Social Vulnerability Criteria. The following entity types can seek funding under PrepareCA:
State Agencies (not eligible for PrepareCA Jumpstart)
Subapplicants must have a FEMA-approved local or tribal hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible. Private nonprofit organizations are not subject to this requirement, but the County in which they are located must meet the LHMP requirement.
Local Governments/Communities/Special Districts
Private Non-profit Organizations
For helpful tips, FAQs, and detailed information about how to submit your NOI, please see the NOI User Guide.
For NOI submission, using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your browser, click this link to access the Engage Cal OES Portal.
Please see the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance for full details on project eligibility and other requirements for the PrepareCA Match program.
All contracts and purchases must comply with relevant Federal and State procurement guidelines to be eligible for reimbursement.
Under PrepareCA Match, pre-award costs (including the development of the subapplication) are eligible for reimbursement upon award if all procurements adhered to federal policies. This includes competitively procuring any contractor support used to develop the subapplication or plan a project. Pre-award costs are not reimbursable under PrepareCA Jumpstart.
Contractors who assist with subapplication development will be ineligible to compete for further contracts on the same award.
Cal OES is pleased to provide technical assistance to interested subapplicants. Our subject matter experts are available to discuss project eligibility, benefit cost analysis, technical feasibility, EHP requirements, the application process, or other related matters.
For assistance with PrepareCA Match, please reach out to HMA@caloes.ca.gov. For questions specific to the PrepareCA Jumpstart program, reach out to PrepareCAJumpStart@caloes.ca.gov.
Cal OES will host the following webinars to assist communities in applying for the PrepareCA Jumpstart and Match Programs. To sign up to receive the webinar link, please register for the HMA listserv.