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Senator Atwater Delivers $5,000 Check from the My Safe Florida Home Program to Boca Raton Resident Today

10/8/2007

CONTACT:   
Brannon Jordan or Marie Buchanan
(850) 413-2842    (954) 321-2900
 
DEERFIELD BEACH – On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program, Senator Jeffrey Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) personally delivered a matching grant reimbursement for $5,000 to a Boca Raton homeowner who hardened her home through the state’s MSFH program.  At the event today, Sen. Atwater discussed the financial and safety incentives available through the MSFH program and encouraged more homeowners in South Florida to sign up for the program’s free wind inspections.
 
“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 Susan Baumel’s lead and sign up for free wind inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program.” 
 
Susan Baumel, a 55-year-old resident of Boca Raton, received a grant reimbursement Monday after hardening her home’s roof.  After having her home inspected by a MSFH inspector, Baumel received a report indicating that the addition of an exterior roof-deck attachment and secondary water barrier would help harden her home to hurricanes.  Based on information from her inspection report, Baumel made more than $30,000 worth of improvements to her home. Baumel was encouraged to harden her home after Hurricane Wilma hit her area in 2004.
 
“In the event of a storm, you must take comfort in the fact that you have done everything you can to harden your home and protect your most prized possession—your loved ones, from nature’s destruction,” said Senator Atwater.
  
To date, the program has reimbursed 268 homeowners in Broward County for a total of $896,312.86.  In Palm Beach County, the program has reimbursed 218 homeowners for a total cost of $661,438.56.  Currently there are 2,836 homeowners in Broward County hardening their homes through the MSFH program.  In Palm Beach County, 1,986 homeowners 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 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 892 homes in Florida, 60 of those homes are located in Broward County and 50 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 get 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.