UPDATED 6/12/13 TO REFLECT MORE ACCURATE INFO -- FEMA WEBSITE WAS A BIT OUT OF DATE
On its website, FEMA says there are grants and other funding opportunities available for people who want to build a safe room in their home. Community development grants, FHA financing, and FEMA grants can help you pay for the construction in 12 states:
The Alabama Safe Room Initiative – The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds construction of individual and community tornado shelters in Alabama. As of March 2013, 4,699 shelters were approved for funding. Of these, 4,442 were individual (average reimbursement: $2,910) and 257 were community (average reimbursement: $20,800).
Residential Safe Room Tax Initiative – County of Kauai, State of Hawaii – The Council of the County of Kauai established a law that provides property tax exemptions to residents who build safe rooms in their homes. The exemption totals $40,000 per residence with one or more safe rooms.
Minnesota Tornado Safe Rooms – The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds construction of community safe rooms in Minnesota. As of May 30, 2013, three shelters were constructed: one at Paynesville Middle School-High School (reimbursement: $461,633), one near Lake Traverse (reimbursement: $105,269) and one in the Wadena-Deer Creek School District.
Oklahoma State School Shelter Initiative – The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds construction of safe rooms in Oklahoma schools. As of March 2004, the state approved construction of over 75 safe rooms. Safe rooms have been built at Maple School, at Union Elementary, in the Porum School District and in the Wynnewood School District.
SoonerSafe – Safe Room Rebate Program – The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides up to $2,000 for Oklahoma residents to install above- or below-ground safe rooms. In 2012, SoonerSafe gave more than $1 million in rebates. Recipients of the rebates are announced annually, and they must confirm their participation in the program within 30 days of notification.
Other Informational Resources:
Texas Tech University Wind Engineering Research Center
National Storm Shelter Association