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Senator Aronberg Delivers $5,000 Check from the My Safe Florida Home Program to Ft. Myers Resident Wednesday

9/5/2007

CONTACT:  
Brannon Jordan or John Fischer
(850) 413-2842     (239) 461-4000 

Sink urging more Floridians to sign up at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com
 
FT. MYERS – On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program, Senator Dave Aronberg (D), D-27, today personally delivered a matching grant reimbursement for $5,000 to a Ft. Myers homeowner who hardened her home 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 Ms. Renosis’ lead to sign up for free wind inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program.” 
 
Lorraine Renosis, a 58-year-old artist and former teacher in Ft. Myers, received a grant reimbursement Wednesday after installing opening protections.  Renosis reached out to the program because of the damages her home sustained during Hurricane Charley. 
 
After having her home inspected by a MSFH inspector, Renosis received a report indicating that replacing all of her home’s windows with high-impact glass would help harden her home to hurricanes.  Through the program’s matching grant reimbursement of up to $5,000, Renosis was able to afford replacing all 14 windows in her home for a total cost of about $14,000.
 
“As a State Senator who represents much of Southwest Florida, I urge all my constituents to take advantage of the My Safe Florida Home program,” said Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres).  “Although Alex Sink and I cannot prevent hurricanes from hitting Florida, we will continue to promote incentives to strengthen our state’s homes,” said Sen. Aronberg.  “With the state’s help, a small investment today can save homeowners plenty down the road.” 
    
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 41 homeowners in Collier County, 81 homeowners in Lee County, 152 homeowners in Charlotte County and 1 homeowner in Hendry 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.