FEMA Climate Resilience Loans Target Small Communities

A new loan program reduces the bureaucratic hurdles to implementing small-scale climate adaptation projects.

1 minute read

September 22, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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Sebastian / Adobe Stock

An article by Jake Bittle in Grist describes a new loan program for climate adaptation projects that specifically aims to support small-scale projects in smaller towns and tribal communities. “This way, not only can local officials representing small towns, minor cities, and tribes skip the extensive application process associated with federal grants, but they also don’t have to justify their projects in cost-benefit terms.”

The program could help speed up smaller adaptation projects that could have a significant impact on their community’s ability to withstand extreme weather events and climate change, reducing the red tape that communities must navigate for most federal grant or loan programs.  Bittle explains that “Because states themselves will be running the loan programs, rather than the federal government, borrowers won’t have to worry about following the extensive federal spending guidelines that often hamper adaptation projects, or about passing a strict cost-benefit analysis.

According to Bittle, “The agency is piloting the program by sending $50 million in ‘seed capital’ to seven states — Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia — as well as Washington, D.C. The states will get about $6 million each, and they’ll be able to loan that money out to smaller governments at interest rates of less than 1 percent.”

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