PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) – On Monday, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) launched the
Individual Safe Room Program, which helps residents in disaster-prone areas build a safe room or storm shelter to help protect them from severe weather.

The application process will continue through October 31, 2022. The application process opened at 9:00 a.m. on Monday.

“This is mitigation money that is now available to individuals in certain eligible counties, who can apply to have a safe-room grant. It is a reimbursement program, so I want people to understand MEMA is not going out and building this for you. You would have to build it, provide us with the documentation and then we could reimburse you, but there’s a lot that goes into this whole process,” explained Malary White, Chief Communications Officer for MEMA.

The agency expects to build more than 600 safe rooms with the $2.5 million in funds. Residents of Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren and Yazoo counties are eligible to apply.

Officials said it’s important to note that residents themselves cannot build the safe room. A licensed contractor must install it. Safe rooms must only be installed after receiving MEMA approval. Renters are not eligible for the program.

“It’s absolutely needed. I mean, safe rooms help save lives. This is probably the number one question that we get after we have a disaster is, ‘Hey, where is grant funding for this safe room program?’ We did have it 10 years ago, and we were able to build over 10,000 individual saferooms across the state,” said White.

“The funding is tied to a declared disaster, and the counties that were actually impacted during that disaster. Right now, its eight counties who were declared for individual assistance, so that’s why it’s the original eight, so we’ve launched it there,” said White.

Residents can apply online. MEMA will contact the applicant to confirm receipt of application.