Florida's hurricane-safety program for homes on track to exceed goal
The My Safe Florida Home Program, which provides qualified homeowners with state grants toward making their homes more hurricane-resistant, is expected to surpass its projected goal of assisting 35,000 state residents before it ends May 31, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said Tuesday.
In making the announcement, officials said residents still have two weeks to apply for the grants. The state program provides matching grants for up to $5,000 to help homeowners improve their homes to protect them from hurricane-force winds, said Kevin Cate, a spokesman for the Department of Financial Services.
Homeowners whose homes have undergone wind certification and hurricane mitigation inspections by the Department of Financial Services can apply for matching grants.
The first-come, first-served program will transition to an inspection-focused program beginning this June offering free wind inspections by qualified hurricane mitigation inspectors. "With hurricane season less than one month away, I encourage Floridians to sign up for a free wind inspection to learn how to harden their homes against hurricane damage," Sink said in a statement.
The state Legislature approved the My Safe Florida Home Program last year to help Floridians reduce hurricane damage.
The program has approved 32,292 homeowners for mitigation grants and paid 6,930 grants totaling more than $22.4 million. More than 222,981 wind inspections have been provided free to homeowners, and state officials expect to complete wind inspections for at least 400,000 single-family residential properties before June 30, 2009.
The upgrades have helped more than half of the homeowners who have received a wind inspection get discounts on property insurance premiums. Homeowners are saving $217 on average on their home insurance.