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Rep. Taylor Delivers $5,000 Check from the My Safe Florida Home Program to Riviera Beach Homeowners Wednesday

9/11/2007

CONTACT:      
Brannon Jordan or Victoria Williams
(850) 413-2842     (561) 640-6700
 
CFO Sink urging more Palm Beach County residents to sign up at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com
 
RIVIERA BEACH – On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program, Representative Priscilla Taylor (D-Riviera Beach) personally delivered a matching grant reimbursement for $5,000 to a Riviera Beach couple who hardened their 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 it 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 Mr. and Mrs. Sayles’ lead to sign up for free wind inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program.” 
 
John (52) and Donna (47) Sayles, of Riviera Beach, received a grant reimbursement Wednesday after hardening their home’s opening protections.  After having their home inspected by a MSFH inspector, the Sayles received a report indicating that the addition of accordion shutters to their windows, replacing the garage door with a Miami-Dade-rated garage door, and hardening their front and rear door would help harden their home to hurricanes.  With the program’s matching grant reimbursement of up to $5,000, the Sayles were able to afford hardening their home for a total cost of about $14,000.
“I feel that the My Safe Florida Home program is a great benefit to the people here in Palm Beach County, but it is not being utilized enough,” said Rep. Taylor. “We need to get the word out so that more people can take advantage of the program.”
    
The MSFH program resumed offering wind inspections and expanded statewide this year after conducting a pilot program during the previous year in 2006.  Since April 2007, the MSFH program has performed over 90,000 free wind inspections.  More than 9,512 homeowners have been approved for matching grants and are working with the MSFH program to harden their homes.  Statewide, the program has issued a grand total of 1,010 grants to homeowners for more than $3.1 million.
 
To date, the program has reimbursed 166 homeowners in Palm Beach County for a total of $481,814.  Currently there are, 2,011 homeowners in Palm Beach 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 Area Median Income.)  To date, VFF has completed work on 623 homes in Florida, 50 of those homes are located in Palm Beach 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.
 
Additionally, while the free wind inspections will still cover seven potential wind-resistance improvements, matching grants may only be applied to opening protections, including windows, exterior doors and garage doors, as well as the bracing of gable ends.
 
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.