By John Sadler
Regional UASI Planner
On May 19, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security released allocations for homeland security grants, including the Urban Areas Security Initiative Program (UASI). The grants focus on the highest risk cities that continue to face the most significant threats, while continuing to provide dedicated funding to law enforcement throughout the country to prepare for, prevent and respond to pre-operational activity and other crimes that are precursors or indicators of terrorist activity. The 9/11 Commission recommended that homeland security funds be allocated 'based strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities' to focus limited funding in the highest risk areas.
The UASI Program, made available by DHS, provides funding to address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas, and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. Funding levels for the grant are divided into two tiers determined by DHS’ risk methodology and effectiveness.
This year, Hampton Roads endured a reduction that eliminated over half of the UASI regions nationwide that were previously eligible for funds. According to DHS, “The 11 highest risk urban areas, designated Tier I urban areas, will be eligible for $540. The remaining 20 Urban Areas, designated Tier II urban areas, will be eligible for $121. Hampton Roads was originally designated a Tier II urban area in the fiscal year 2007 and will receive an allocation of $5.1 million for the fiscal year 2011, which is a reduction from previous fiscal years.
As a result of the delay in passing the federal budget, all urban areas have a little less than a month to prepare the grant application for submission to DHS through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Fortunately, the Hampton Roads UASI staff and the HRPDC had already begun working with stakeholders preparing the grant application and are expected to submit a UASI grant application package before the deadline of June 20, 2011.
If you have any questions concerning the Hampton Roads UASI program, please contact Richard Flannery, Emergency Management Administrator / UASI Program Manager (Rflannery@hrpdcva.gov).