GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES FREE HOME INSPECTIONS TO START IN PALM BEACH AND TREASURE COAST COUNTIES
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that free home inspections will soon begin in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties for nearly 2,200 homeowners who applied through the My Safe Florida Home program. The program, funded with $250 million by the Florida Legislature, was created to better protect Floridians by strengthening their homes against hurricanes and to reduce the state’s exposure to hurricane damage.
“Before this hurricane season ends, my goal is to provide 12,000 free home inspections across the state to help Floridians strengthen their homes and better protect their families against catastrophic storms,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services which administers the My Safe Florida Home program.
Gallagher said that homeowners in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties who have already submitted completed applications will be contacted by a department-approved inspector to schedule an inspection. The department has already received 1,935 completed applications and will be able to serve another 265 homeowners in these four counties. Future applicants will be served with additional funding of the My Safe Florida Home program.
Following an inspection, homeowners will receive a report that outlines up to seven areas that could be improved to better protect the home against hurricanes, an estimate of how much improvements would cost, the expected insurance savings the homeowner would receive if improvements were made, and a rating of the home’s current ability to withstand hurricanes and its future ability to withstand hurricanes with improvements.
Gallagher said that the expansion into Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties is possible thanks to a partnership with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) to screen and train an additional 350 inspectors.
Applying and obtaining a free home inspection is just the first step of the program. Homeowners who undergo the My Safe Florida Home inspection may also qualify for matching grants of up to $5,000 to fortify their homes. As directed by the new law to reduce hurricane exposure and property losses in Florida, grants will be prioritized and awarded to homeowners who live in high-risk, hurricane-vulnerable areas of the state.
Since the My Safe Florida
Home program launched in late August,
approximately 5,300 inspections have been
completed or scheduled in Broward, Miami-Dade
and Lee counties. To ensure each county
receives a fair share of free home inspections,
the My Safe Florida Home program is limiting the
number of inspections in each county based upon
population. Applicants who do not receive a
free home inspection before this limit is met
will have their applications held for future
phases of the program.