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CFO Sink Announces My Safe Florida Home Program Set to Expand Statewide with 11 New Wind Inspection Firms

4/10/2007

CONTACT:  
Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842 

Program will resume free home inspections within two weeks
TALLAHASSEE– Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today that 11 new windstorm inspection firms have been selected to aid Floridians interested in hardening their homes through the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program.  After a two-month competitive bidding process, these firms were chosen based upon their scores, capacity to perform a minimum number of quality inspections each week, and in-house resources available to manage the large number of applicants to the program. 
 
Each inspection firm must ensure that their inspectors pass Level 2 background checks, including fingerprinting and drug testing.  Each inspector must also undergo the required education and training on mitigation techniques and the MSFH program.
 
“These inspection firms had to meet the strictest of criteria in order to be considered for this program,” said CFO Sink.  “We want homeowners to be highly satisfied with the services they receive from the My Safe Florida Home Program once it expands statewide.”
 
Together, the 11 inspection firms have each been selected to serve in specific regions of the state to ensure maximum statewide service.  After a 60-day ramp-up period, each firm has agreed to conduct a minimum of 1,000 inspections a week.  Inspections firms were selected to cover specific regions, as detailed below:
 
• Panhandle (Region 1) – AmeriPro Inspection and Thomas Enterprising
• North Florida (Region 2) – AmeriPro, Skye Tec, and Alltech
• Central Florida (Region 3) – Florida Real Property Administrators, JVI Inspections, Professional Service Industries, and Home Inspections.
• South Florida (Region 4) – Applied Research and Associates, W.B. Sanders, Don Meyler Inspections, and Skye Tec
 
The pilot phase of the MSFH program was launched in late August 2006.  During the MSFH program’s 2006 pilot phase, more than 14,000 free wind inspections were conducted in 17 counties.  Along with an inspection report, these 14,000 homeowners received a grant application to apply for matching funds, and the department has received applications from more than 4,100 homeowners to date.  These homeowners are currently working with licensed contractors approved by the MSFH program and making recommended improvements to their homes.  Once the work has been completed, the state will reimburse the homeowners for 50 percent of the actual cost of the improvements, up to $5,000.  To date, more than $47,000 in grant money has been awarded to 19 Floridians in seven counties.
 
The MSFH program helps Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes and reduces the overall potential for hurricane damage in our state. To achieve this goal, the program offers eligible homeowners a free home inspection by trained and qualified hurricane mitigation inspectors.
 
Homeowners who have received these inspections also have the opportunity to apply for a matching grant of up to $5,000 to make recommended improvements.
 
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. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.