The MEMA Safe Room Program application period has closed.
MEMA does not endorse particular safe room manufacturers or contractors and is not affiliated with any other grant or financing programs. If you are contacted by a company other than MEMA regarding your grant application, please notify us at 866-519-MEMA (6362).
If you suspect fraud, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-281-4418.
What is “A Safe Place to Go” Program?
- “A Safe Place to Go” is Mississippi’s safe room initiative, administered by MEMA’s Mitigation Grants Bureau and funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grants Program.
- More than 6,200 safe rooms have already been installed statewide thanks to this initiative. HMGP initiatives such as this one are used for the implementation of long-term, cost-effective measures that will significantly reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property from natural disasters.
How are safe rooms funded?
- The state uses the HMGP federal funds to reimburse up to 75 percent of the total eligible costs of constructing or installing a safe room of an amount not to exceed $4,000 for single-family or in-residence safe rooms.
- The 25 percent non-federal share or all amounts in excess of $4,000 is the responsibility of the project applicant.
How do I become eligible for the “A Safe Place to Go” Program?
- The program is being offered to homeowners in the counties listed above.
- To be eligible, the safe room must be installed at primary residences and must be installed on property owned by the applicant.
- If you live in a mobile home, you must own both the mobile home itself and the land it is located on to be eligible for the rebate.
- The first priority of the state is to make the grant funds available to homeowners whose homes were destroyed as a result of the declared incident.
- The second priority is to offer the grants to those applicants whose homes sustained damage due to the declared incident.
- The third priority will be given to all other residents living in the declared counties above but did not sustain any damage.
What specifications are required for safe rooms or shelters reimbursed by the program?
- The construction of an above ground safe room must meet the written specifications in “FEMA 320,” Third Edition (August 2008) or the National Storm Shelter Association standard.
- The installation of an in-ground safe room must meet the written specifications developed by FEMA or NSSA for in-ground safe rooms. No in-ground safe room may be installed in a floodplain or any other identified special flood hazard area.
What is the application process like?
- The applicant must first submit an application to MEMA via the MEMA website www.msema.org.
- The application will be reviewed by MEMA and FEMA to determine project eligibility.
- MEMA then sends an offer letter to the applicant informing the applicant that he or she has been selected as an eligible recipient of Hazard Mitigation Grant funds to subsidize a percentage of the total eligible cost of constructing or installing a safe room.
- The offer letter must be signed and returned within two weeks of the date of the offer. If the offer letter is not signed and received before installation begins, you will not be reimbursed for the safe room purchased and installed.
- You will receive notification that your offer letter has been received and that you can begin the purchase and installation of your safe room.
- A Certification Instructions form must be filled out and signed by the contractor/installer, who must be a licensed Mississippi contractor. Essentially, the contractor certifies that the shelter has been constructed according to the blueprints in “FEMA 320,” Third Edition (August 2008) or in accordance with the stamped and sealed blueprints of a professional engineer or registered architect licensed in the Mississippi. The first page of the blueprints from the engineer or architect must state: “This safe room design complies with the applicable standards as set forth in the applicable FEMA publications or NSSA.” The certification instructions form is mandatory and must be submitted to receive reimbursement. This form must be notarized.
- A Safe Room Reimbursement Request must be submitted in order to receive reimbursement. Certain forms and documents must be attached, including; bills/invoices, receipts, front and back copies of cancelled checks and two pictures of the shelter. A signed W-9 form is also required.
- Upon completion of each eligible project, the applicant will complete, certify and submit a copy of the required forms and supporting documentation to MEMA. A site inspection will be conducted by MEMA staff. The state, upon satisfactory review of the documentation and site inspection, will remit a check for the eligible reimbursement cost not to exceed 75 percent of the total eligible project cost up to $4,000.
What are the costs associated with the program?
Reimbursable Costs for Single Family Shelters or Safe-Rooms
- Engineering and design.
- Permit fees.
- Site preparation.
- Construction and/or installation in accordance with FEMA Certification Instructions.
- Inspection fees.
Non-Reimbursable Costs for Single Family Shelters or Safe Rooms
- Construction and/or installation not in accordance with FEMA Certification Instructions.
- Shelter furnishings such as, furniture, cabinets, or shelving.
- Interior or exterior finishes such as, carpet, tile, paint, or brick.