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CFO Sink Delivers Nearly $5,000 Check from the My Safe Florida Home Program to Pensacola Resident Friday

7/6/2007

CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842 
 
Sink urging more Panhandle Floridians to sign up at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com
 
PENSACOLA – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today personally delivered a matching grant reimbursement for $4,942.57 to a Pensacola homeowner who hardened his home through the state’s My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program. 
 
“Hardening your home is the best way to protect your family, reduce the state’s exposure to hurricane damage and potentially result in savings on homeowners’ wind premiums,” said CFO Sink who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  “I encourage more Floridians to follow Mr. Dill’s lead and sign up for their free
wind inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program.”
 
John Dill, a 67-year-old military retiree of Pensacola, received a grant reimbursement Friday after hardening his home’s opening protections.  After having his home inspected by a MSFH program-approved inspector in February, Dill received an inspection report indicating that adding accordion style shutters to six of his doorways would help harden his home to hurricanes.  After making the improvements through a program approved contractor for nearly $10,000, Dill was reimbursed by the state for half the cost of improvements, a total of $ $4,942.57.
 
The MSFH program resumed offering wind inspections and expanded statewide after conducting a pilot program during the previous year.  Since April 2007, the MSFH program has performed nearly 46,000 free wind inspections.  From the 14,289 homes inspected during the program’s original pilot phase, 5,839 homeowners are eligible for matching grants and are working with the MSFH program to harden their homes.  Statewide, the program has issued a grand total of $1,032,180 to 362 homeowners who have completed the improvements recommended in their inspection reports.
 
Currently, 133 homeowners in Escambia County, 64 homeowners in Santa Rosa County and 8 homeowners in Walton County are hardening their homes through the MSFH program.  These homeowners are being reimbursed for half the cost, up to $5,000, on a variety of home improvements, including hurricane shutters, reinforced garage doors and roof enhancements. 
 
MSFH also partners with the Volunteer Florida Foundation (VFF) to provide mitigation, at no cost, to the homes of lower-income Floridians (those earning 80 percent or less than the Annual Median Income- $42,000 for a family of four in Escambia County).  To date, VFF has completed work on 303 homes, and 175 of those homes are located in Escambia County.  Another 611 low-income homeowners are currently working on hardening their homes through this program, and of those homeowners, 77 are from Escambia County.
 
Any Floridian who lives in a single-family, site-built home is eligible for a free wind inspection through the program.  Floridians can apply on-line at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com or by calling the program toll-free at 1-866-513-6734.  Homeowners who receive free wind inspections through the MSFH program will receive a detailed inspection report, complete with additional eligibility information on matching grants and estimated insurance premium discounts, if the homeowner is eligible. 
 
In order to be eligible for the program’s matching grant reimbursements of up to $5,000, the Legislature requires that homeowners meet the following requirements: have received a completed wind inspection after May 1, 2007; live in a single-family, site-built home built before March 1, 2002; have a valid homestead exemption; have an insured value of $300,000 or less; and be located in the wind-borne debris region.
 
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.