In recent years, natural and human-induced emergencies have taken a significant toll on communities across America. As regions focus on relief and recovery efforts in the wake of hurricanes, floods, oil spills, or even economic crises, it is clear that timely, efficient and accountable distribution of emergency federal grant funds has become increasingly critical.
Although many disasters may be unprecedented, they all require immediate action and expertise to build effective programs. Specific examples include Hurricanes Sandy, Gustav and Katrina as well as the U.S. economic turndown of the late 2000’s precipitating a $787 billion economic stimulus package with funding for education, healthcare and infrastructure programs. Another example is the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund where 80% of civil penalties in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be available to fund programs, projects and activities that restore and protect the Gulf Coast region. While these monies are coming from the private sector, they are being disbursed via the federal government.
The nature of these situations requires expediency in providing federal grant monies to both people in need and the programs designed to boost recovery and revive businesses, communities and ecosystems. This requires government agencies to stand up funding mechanisms quickly and provide transparency and accountability in how funds are allocated. For initial relief funding, the main goal is to move quickly. Longer-term recovery activities still require speedy delivery, but there is a much greater focus on rigorous oversight, particularly in the current era of government transparency and accountability.
More than ever, government is being asked to provide transparency of operations to promote accountability and give citizens a way to access how and where federal recovery dollars are being spent. Agencies at all levels have been encouraged to use technology to make information about their operations and decisions readily available to stakeholders, including the public, and present that information online. The good news is, with the technology tools and frameworks available today, there is every reason such systems, processes and transparency mechanisms can be established quickly to begin distribution of needed funds for recovery.
Read more in our white paper.