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CFO Sink: after Reorganization, My Safe Florida Home Program Resumes Free Wind Inspections Statewide

4/23/2007

CONTACT:  
Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842 
Program expands statewide and is reorganized to better serve Florida homeowners.
 
TALLAHASSEE– Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today that the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program has been streamlined to provide better service and has been expanded to offer free wind inspections to eligible Floridians statewide.  As of today, the popular program aimed at hardening the homes of Floridians will begin serving the more than 50,000 homeowners on the pilot program’s waiting list for wind inspections and will begin accepting new applications. 
 
“I am pleased to announce that we have retooled the My Safe Florida Home program and expanded it statewide for Florida’s homeowners,” said CFO Sink.  “Through the newly-designed program, we will work to increase awareness about the importance of mitigation and educate Floridians on how they can better protect their families during a storm.”
 
The first priority of the MSFH program is to begin serving the more than 50,000 homeowners on a waiting list from the pilot phase of the program.  To provide efficient service, 11 certified wind inspection firms were chosen to provide the free wind inspections, based upon 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.
 
The homeowners on the waiting list do not need to re-apply and will receive an update from the program via email or letter before the end of April.  These homeowners will be served in the order their completed applications were received and should expect to be served by the end of the summer.  Any Floridians on the waiting list who have not heard from a participating wind inspection firm by June 30, 2007, should contact the MSFH program’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-513-MSFH (6734). 
 
New applicants can apply over the MSFH program’s Web site at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com or over the program’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-513-MSFH (6734), but should not expect to receive a free wind inspection before August 2007, as the more than 50,000 pilot phase applicants have first priority.  However, Floridians who are not interested in participating in the MSFH program and are willing to pay the $150 fee for a wind inspection, can visit the Web site to learn how they can contact one of our 11 wind inspection firms directly.
 
To date, the MSFH program has awarded nearly $100,000 to 43 Florida homeowners who hardened their homes against hurricanes through the MSFH program.  The homeowners, who received free wind inspections during the pilot phase of the program, are being reimbursed for half the cost of a variety of home improvements, including hurricane shutters, reinforced garage doors and roof enhancements.  More than 5,100 Floridians are currently working on mitigation improvements through the MSFH program and will receive their matching grants once the work has been completed.
 
The Florida Legislature is currently considering legislation that may modify some components of the MSFH program, including grant criteria.  The MSFH program will keep homeowners informed through the Web site about any potential changes once the legislative session ends May 4, 2007.
 
The MSFH program helps Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes and reduces the overall potential for hurricane damage in our state. In addition to providing education about how to better mitigate Florida homes, the program offers eligible homeowners a free wind inspections by trained wind inspectors.  Homeowners who have received these inspections also have the opportunity to apply for a matching grant 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.