U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday the agency has improved its grant process, in remarks about the department's nearly $1.8 billion in preparedness grants for fiscal 2009.

"These grants provide direct support for regional preparedness, urban security and medical response efforts in communities across the country," Napolitano said. "The new grants management initiative launched this year will generate better value for every grant dollar while strengthening our nation's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all disasters."

Napolitano named three areas in which the grant process has changed:

o Fiscal 2009 target allocations were based on stakeholder feedback.

o The DHS dedicated money to projects that have sustainability beyond a single grant program or cycle. "We've made sure our partners know how funds can be used and should be used in sustained ways over time," Napolitano said.

o The process has been streamlined to be more efficient for applicants.

DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa commented by e-mail: "As far as sustainability, training is a large component of grant allocations, ensuring that grantees support equipment and programs with the training to keep their staff current and proficient."

Grant Totals More Specific


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Elaine Rundle  |  Staff Writer