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Rep. Grant Delivers Two Checks from the My Safe Florida Home Program to Port Charlotte Residents Wednesday

9/5/2007

CONTACT:  
John Fischer        or     Maureen Garrard
(239) 461-4000           (941) 613-0914
 
CFO Sink urging more Floridians to sign up at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com
 
PORT CHARLOTTE – On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program, Representative Michael Grant (R), D-71,  today personally delivered two matching grant reimbursements, one for $5,000 and the other for $4,863.43 to two Port Charlotte homeowners who hardened their homes through the state’s MSFH program. 
 
“Mitigation is the best way to protect your home, it will reduce the state’s exposure to hurricane damage and can result in savings on your wind insurance premium,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  “I encourage more Floridians to follow the Kaffs’ and Suttners’ lead to sign up for free wind inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program.”
 
Doug and Judith Kaff, both 66-year-old real estate agents of Port Charlotte, received a grant reimbursement Wednesday for installing opening protections.  After having their home inspected by a MSFH inspector, the Kaffs received a report indicating that installing permanently deployed protection to their windows and replacing the garage door would help harden their home to hurricanes. Through the program’s matching grant reimbursement of up to $5,000, the Kaffs were able to afford improvements to protect their home.
 
Paul and Jane Suttner, both 74-year-old retirees of Port Charlotte, received a grant reimbursement Wednesday after hardening their garage door, windows and doors.  Upon receiving their inspection report, the Suttners decided to reinforce their garage door, add shutters to all the windows on their home and add accordion doors. 
After all the improvements were made, the Suttners were reimbursed for half the cost of improvements, totaling $4,863.43.
 
“This program will help families do twice as much work for half the cost,” said Rep. Grant.  “It will save your property if another storm strikes, and save you money on insurance premiums right away.”
 
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 over 86,000 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 more than 890 grants to homeowners for a total of $2.8 million.

Currently, there are 328 homeowners in Charlotte County, 433 homeowners in Lee County and 468 homeowners in Sarasota County 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 bracing gable ends.
 
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.) To date, VFF has completed work on 583 homes in Florida. 
 
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.