This application period is now CLOSED as of October 31, 2022.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is launching the Individual Safe Room Program to help residents in disaster-prone areas build a safe room/ storm shelter from severe weather. The application process is open from August 1, 2022 – October 31, 2022. Mitigation funds from the Backwater Flooding/ Tornado Disaster (FEMA-MS-4429) will provide reimbursements to residents who build a safe room/storm shelter during this program. These funds cannot be backdated to previous safe rooms built. Applicants could be eligible for a 75% reimbursement or up to $3500 for the cost of installing a safe room. With $2.5 million, MEMA anticipates building over 600 safe rooms with this current grant money.
Residents in the eight federally declared counties for Individual Assistance during the Backwater Flooding Disaster Declaration are eligible for the Individual Safe Room Program: Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren, Yazoo.
Eligible applicants can apply at my.msema.org and click Safe Room Application. MEMA will contact the applicant to confirm receipt of the application. To inquire about the Individual Safe Room Program, potential applicants can call: 1-833-592-6362 (MEMA).
MEMA is NOT affiliated with nor endorses any construction or contracting company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Individual Safe Room Program?
- The individual safe room/ storm shelter program is a reimbursement program developed by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency that will allow eligible Mississippi residents to get money back from building or installing a safe room/storm shelter in their homes or on their property.
How much money will I get?
- Homeowners that apply and are selected are eligible for a reimbursement of 75% of the total costs of the installation/construction of a safe room up to a maximum of $3,500. Homeowners who have already installed a safe room/storm shelter are not eligible to participate in this program.
- Reimbursement is given upon completion of the installation/construction of the safe room/storm shelter and when all documentation is submitted and reviewed.
Who qualifies for assistance?
- Funding is limited, so the program will be offered first to counties designated with Individual Assistance from federally declared disaster MS-DR 4429.
- Eligible counties include Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Yazoo, and Warren.
- If there are remaining funds the program will be offered to the counties designated for Public Assistance under MS-DR 4429. Those counties include Alcorn, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Coahoma, Grenada, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Leflore, Montgomery, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tishomingo, Union, Washington, Webster, and Yalobusha.
When will the program start?
- The Individual Safe Room Program begins on August 1, 2022. Homeowners will have until October 31, 2022, to apply. MEMA will accept applications for 90 days.
How do I apply?
It is important to note the entire application process is done online. The application must be completed online at my.msema.org.
1) On the top of the page, you will see “Safe Room Application” – Click on this link, and it will take you to the saferoom application.
2) Once on this site, please fill in ALL the information requested to include a phone number that you can be reached during the day.
3) Once you have completed all the information, submit your application using the submit button at the bottom. At this time, you have submitted your application. DO NOT proceed with your shelter at this point. You must wait for further instructions via the Safe Room application site.
- The Safe room/ storm shelter cannot be installed until approval is received. Any installations/construction before the approval date will not be reimbursed.
- The safe room must be installed at primary residences and must be installed on property owned by the applicant. Proof of ownership must be provided.
- If you are applying for a safe room at a mobile home, the applicant must own the mobile home and the land it is located on.
Can I install my own safe room?
- Installation must be done by a licensed contractor. The homeowner will be responsible for hiring a contractor and ensuring that all requirements are met in the safe room/storm shelter installation. Following proper installation, an inspection is required before reimbursements are made and distributed to the homeowner. It is also the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that their contractor is paid.
- Safe rooms may be installed above or below ground.
- Retrofitting or repairing existing safe rooms is not an eligible activity of the program.
Do I qualify if I built a safe room before the start of the program?
- Homeowners who have already installed a safe room/storm shelter are not eligible to participate in this program. Applicants must have an approved application to be eligible for reimbursement.
What documentation is needed for reimbursement?
- All reimbursement documentation must be submitted via the safe room application site. Below is a list of documentation that will be needed. Additional documentation may be requested before any distribution of funds.
- A certification form signed by a licensed contractor or installer.
- Proof of homeownership (Quit claim deed)
- Invoices for all related costs (Shelter, Installation)
- Cleared check or proof of payment (Credit card statement, Money Order receipt)
- Conceptual drawings of the safe room/storm shelter (Vendor should be able to provide).
- Photos before and after installation
- Signed Acceptance Letter
- W-9 Tax Form
I live in an apartment complex / I rent a home. Am I eligible for the Individual Safe Room Program?
- Apartment complexes, duplexes, and other multi-family residences are not eligible for the individual safe room/storm shelter program. The safe room/storm shelter program is for single-family primary residences only.
- If you live in a rented structure, you are not eligible for the reimbursement program.
- Community or neighborhood safe rooms are not eligible for the program.
I live in a floodplain area. Are there special requirements for me?
- If your home is in a floodplain, you may be eligible to install a safe room/ storm shelter above ground. FEMA approval must be granted. Below-ground safe room/storm shelter is not allowed in the floodplain.
Can I repair my existing safe room/storm shelter?
Retrofitting or repairing existing safe rooms is not an eligible activity of the program.
How long is the approval process?
FEMA has 90 days to approve your safe room application.
What are the specifications required for a safe room?
EMA recommends that residential safe rooms be designed for 250 mph winds regardless of the location of the safe room with respect to the wind zone areas. This is a requirement if receiving FEMA funds. For more information, click here: Taking Shelter from the Storm – Building or Installing a Safe Room for Your Home (fema.gov)