Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced that he will offer an amendment to the disaster supplemental package to re-open the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to allow Illinois another opportunity to submit an application to qualify for these important grants. In January, the State of Illinois failed to submit a complete application for Fiscal Year 2018 rendering all communities in the state ineligible to apply for these grants. The House is scheduled to consider the disaster relief legislation next week.
“Our communities are experiencing severe flooding right now and they shouldn’t be punished because of the state’s failure to submit a complete application on time,” said Davis. “We’re going to pass this major disaster relief bill next week to help many states throughout the Midwest and I think we should use this opportunity to give Illinois another shot submit a complete application for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program. I hope my Democrat colleagues in the House will recognize the severity of this issue and make this amendment in order so communities in Illinois can get the help they need.”
Yesterday, FEMA responded to questions on Illinois’ ineligibility for the program and confirmed that it was a failure on the state’s part to submit a complete application before the January 31st deadline. FEMA notes in their response that their server logs show that the State of Illinois waited until a few hours before the deadline to finish the application, but that it never submitted a complete application. They also noted that while 1,100 individuals from across the country attended 12 technical assistance webinars provided by FEMA on the grant application process, no one from the State of Illinois participated.
State of Illinois’ response
Davis continues to await a response from Governor Pritzker on the issue. On April 9, Davis sent a letter to Governor Pritzker asking for clarification on the issue, how they plan to help communities throughout the state who are no longer eligible for these grants, and what steps are being taken to ensure this issue does not happen again.
Background on PDM
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program through FEMA awards planning and project grants and provides opportunities for raising public awareness about reducing future losses before disaster strikes. Mitigation planning is a key process used to break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. According to FEMA, Illinois has received $11.6 million in these competitive grants since 2003.