In 2011, Missouri and several other states were hit with the deadliest tornado outbreak on record with a reported 335 deaths. Federal grant programs are available to finance storm shelter construction in Missouri’s urban and rural communities. These storm shelters are built in apartment complexes, mobile home parks, near schools, factories or office buildings. Residential storm shelters, also known as safe rooms or storm cellars, can be built in or near homes using grants as well.
Community Facilities Grant Program
Rural communities in Missouri apply for grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, to build storm shelters open to its residents under the Community Facilities Grant Program. This program is available to towns, districts and counties in Missouri with less than 20,000 and funds the construction and renovation of community storm shelters and equipment purchases necessary to run the facilities. Up to 75 percent of the project costs are covered by these grants.
Community Development Block Grant
Populated areas in Missouri build storm shelters for residents through grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD. The Community Development Block Grant program awards grants to cities and counties with over 50,000 and 200,000 residents respectively to build and renovate community and public facilities such as storm shelters, neighborhood centers and residential and non-residential buildings.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
Another grant program available to finance storm shelter construction projects in Missouri is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, HMGP. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the HMGP awards grants to state and local government agencies for capital projects to reduce property damages and the loss of human lives. Such projects include purchasing real properties to demolish physical structures and creating open spaces, building community storm shelters and retrofitting buildings to withstand high winds and flood damage. Grants cover up to 75 percent of the project costs.
Residential Storm Shelters
Missouri residents also have access to several grant programs to build storm shelters inside or near their homes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity, pair to build storm shelters in homes through the Safe Room Initiative program. The USDA sponsors home construction and renovation grants for areas in Missouri that have fewer than 20,000 residents. These programs are the Housing Preservation Grant Program and the Very-Low Income Housing Program. The Very-Low Income Housing Repair Program is only available to low-income seniors 62 years of age and older who cannot afford loans.