"This year's grant process will be more user-friendly. There will be increased interaction with all applicants before we award the grants to ensure effective investment." said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "The funds will be distributed to reduce risk across the United States, not just in a handful of places. But, let me be clear that the communities facing the highest risk will receive the majority of the funds."
The five programs that comprise the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) encourage a regional approach to strengthening homeland security. Grant funding priorities include reducing risks of improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons. They emphasize interoperable communications, information sharing and citizen preparedness. HSGP fiscal year 2007 funding totals are:
- State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)- $509.3 million
- Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)- $363.8 million
- Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)- $746.9 million
- Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)- $32.0 million
- Citizen Corps Program (CCP)- $14.6 million
The department has refined its grants programs over the past year to increase transparency, provide a more streamlined and interactive application process, and tier certain core programs according to risk. In addition, the six highest risk UASI cities will be permitted for the first time to apply up to 25 percent of their award toward current state and local personnel dedicated exclusively to counterterrorism field operations.
HSGP risk-methodology considers a variety of factors, including intelligence assessments, population size and density, economic impacts, and proximity to nationally critical infrastructure such as international borders. More than 100 law enforcement, emergency management and homeland security experts from federal, state and urban areas will form peer review panels to assess this year's grant applications. Upon completion of the review process, DHS expects to announce grant allocations by summer 2007.