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CFO Sink Announces Mailing of Mitigation Grant Applications to Homeowners

1/22/2007

CONTACT:
Tara Klimek or Jeff Takacs
(850) 413-2842 
 
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today that inspection reports and applications for matching grants are being mailed to homeowners who received free home inspections during the pilot phase of the My Safe Florida Home program.  Nearly 14,000 Florida homeowners received free home inspections during the program's pilot phase last year.
 
"I am excited that thousands of homeowners will soon be receiving valuable information about how they can harden their homes," said Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  "The 2007 hurricane season is rapidly approaching, and we want to arm these homeowners as quickly as possible with the information they need to protect their homes against the devastating effects of hurricanes."
 
The inspection reports and matching grant applications will be mailed over the next several weeks.  Inspection reports provide the following information to homeowners: their home's current strength against a hurricane on a 0-100 scale, ways that homeowners can improve their home's strength, a cost estimate for the recommended improvements, and the amount of savings homeowners can anticipate on their wind insurance premiums if the improvements are made.
 
Homeowners choosing to make the recommended improvements are eligible to receive matching grants from the state up to $5,000.  The grant funds must be used to implement improvements specified in the inspection reports, and homeowners will be required to use participating contractors.  The list of participating contractors, organized by county and type of work performed, will be available on-line at www.mysafefloridahome.com, beginning later this week.
 
The My Safe Florida program is currently being evaluated and in the process of statewide expansion, after which the application process for free home inspections will resume.  However, Floridians looking to harden their homes now can learn more about recommended home improvements at www.mysafefloridahome.com
 
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.  To be eligible for a free home inspection, Floridians must live in a single-family, site-built home with an insured value of $500,000 or less and have a valid homestead exemption.  Documents verifying this information must be submitted with a completed application. 
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.