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CFO Sink Urges Continuation of My Safe Florida Home Program with Existing Funds

4/30/2009

 CONTACT:  Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate
                  (850) 413-2842

 
TALLAHASSEE- Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today sent a letter to Senate President Atwater and House Speaker Cretul urging the continuation of the successful My Safe Florida Home program with half of the funds remaining in the program.  CFO Sink requested that at least 50% of the estimated $30-$40 million in unused funding be transferred into the FY 09-10 Budget, instead of forcing the My Safe Florida Home program to end this year.
 
“In these challenging economic times, a renewed commitment to hardening homes against hurricanes with the My Safe Florida Home program is a smart investment for Florida.  I hope that you recognize the need to continue this successful program, and allow at least 50 percent of the remaining funding to be used to help more Floridians strengthen their homes,” CFO Sink wrote.
 
A copy of the letter is attached and below:
 
April 30, 2009
 
The Honorable Jeff Atwater
President, Florida Senate
The Honorable Larry Cretul
Speaker, Florida House of Representatives
 
Dear President Atwater and Speaker Cretul:
 
To truly reduce Florida’s long-term hurricane risk, we need to help as many Floridians as possible harden their homes.  Since its establishment in 2006, the successful My Safe Florida Home program has resulted in reduced insurance rates for consumers, new jobs for our economy, and stronger homes for Floridians.
In 2006, the Florida Legislature committed $250 million to this worthwhile program.  While the majority of this funding has been spent to help hundreds of thousands of Floridians receive inspections and harden their homes, it is estimated that between $30 million to $40 million will be unused when the program is set to sunset at the end of this fiscal year.
 
Given the overwhelming success of the program, I urge the Legislature to transfer at least half of the remaining funding into the FY 2009-2010 Budget to continue the My Safe Florida Home program, instead of forcing the program to sunset.  To be clear, I am not asking for any additional funding for this program.  I am only requesting that half of the money already in the program be used to continue to harden Floridians’ homes.
 
More than 40,000 homeowners have been approved for grants through the My Safe Florida Home program to improve the strength of their home from the devastating damage caused by hurricanes.  Over 29,000 of these homeowners have been reimbursed and are now more secure in their homes. We have also signed up more that 400,000 Floridians statewide for free wind inspections. Approximately 55 percent of homeowners who received an inspection are eligible for an average savings of $216 on their insurance without taking any further action.
 
There is also new research that shows what a good investment the My Safe Florida Home program is.  According to an analysis done this month by catastrophe risk experts Risk Management Solutions (RMS), for every grant dollar provided by the My Safe Florida Home program, hurricane losses are expected to be reduced by as much as $1.50.  And if targeted homes continue to be mitigated, we will see over $2.00 in risk reduction for every $1.00 invested with My Safe Florida Home.
 
In these challenging economic times, a renewed commitment to hardening homes against hurricanes with the My Safe Florida Home program is a smart investment for Florida.  I hope that you recognize the need to continue this successful program, and allow at least 50 percent of the remaining funding to be used to help more Floridians strengthen their homes.
 
Sincerely,
Alex Sink
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
 
cc: The Honorable Charlie Crist
 The Honorable J.D. Alexander
The Honorable Marcelo Llorente