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Rep. Fitzgerald Delivers $5,000 Check from the My Safe Florida Home Program to Sarasota Resident Today

11/5/2007

CONTACT:    Jane Lyon     or   Brannon Jordan
                   (727)587-7260      (850) 413-2842   
 
 
SARASOTA – On behalf of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program, Representative Keith Fitzgerald (D-Sarasota) personally delivered a matching grant reimbursement for $5,000 to a Sarasota homeowner who hardened her home through the state’s MSFH program.  At the event today, Rep. Fitzgerald discussed the financial and safety incentives available through the MSFH program and encouraged more homeowners in the area 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 Howard Houle’s lead and sign up for free wind inspections through the My Safe Florida Home program.” 
 
Howard Houle, a 57-year-old resident of Sarasota, received a grant reimbursement Monday after hardening his homes opening protections.  After having his home inspected by a MSFH inspector, Houle received a report indicating that hardening all of his home’s window and door openings would help strengthen his home to hurricanes.  Based on information from his inspection report, Houle made $15,700 worth of improvements on his home. 
"The My Safe Florida Home Program is an important incentive for homeowners to protect their homes from hurricane damage," said Representative Fitzgerald.  "The program has not always worked smoothly in the past, but it is important for people to know that the state has worked out many of the initial problems.  This important benefit is there for them if they qualify.  We all benefit when our neighbors harden their homes from storms because doing so lowers insurance rates and adds to public safety."
  
To date, the program has reimbursed 79 homeowners in Sarasota County for a total of $254,081.82.  In Manatee County, the program has reimbursed 52 homeowners for a total cost of $167,587.53.  Currently there are 383 homeowners in Sarasota County hardening their homes through the MSFH program.  In Manatee County, 313 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.
 
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.