Mayor Robaina, above far right, confers with CFO Gallagher,
left, on the inspection inside the
CFO Gallagher, above, speaks to the press at the house in
|CFO Gallagher and the inspector at
the St. Petersburg house.
GALLAGHER SHOWCASES FREE HOME INSPECTIONS TO PROMOTE MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer,
initiated the My Safe Florida Home program by
showcasing the free mitigation inspection process at
homes in Miami and St. Petersburg.
Department of Financial Services, which is administering the program, has
already received more than 70,000 applications for a free home inspection.
“By fortifying homes, we are making families and communities safer and
reducing the level of catastrophic losses from hurricanes,” Gallagher said.
“We are committed to making this program a success so the Legislature
strongly considers funding this program for years to come.”
“It is my top priority to protect the residents of Hialeah and I am proud to
work with CFO Gallagher to strengthen the homes in our community and make
them safer against hurricanes,” said Julio Robaina, mayor of the City of
Hialeah. “CFO Gallagher should be applauded for taking proactive steps to
make our community safer and help ease our insurance burden.”
“With the experience
Florida has had in past hurricane seasons, it is imperative that
strengthening the homes in our communities is a high priority,” said St.
Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. “I applaud the state of Florida for adopting
and implementing this program and look forward to working with them in the
effort to better protect our residents. I am thankful that St. Petersburg
was chosen as a pilot city to begin this process.”
The program was approved this year by the Legislature to address the state’s
property insurance crisis following eight hurricanes that caused nearly $40
billion in insured losses in the past two years. Gallagher said of the
50,000 homes he plans to serve through the program, his goal is to inspect
12,000 homes before the end of this hurricane season.
On Wednesday, Angelina Guixens’ Hialeah home was the first to be inspected
in the program in Miami-Dade County. Then on Thursday, the home of Johnnie
Mae Wynn, a senior living in St. Petersburg, got the first inspection in
Pinellas County. Both seniors, they will receive a report within 7 to10
days detailing the areas of her home that could be strengthened to better
protect her and her home against hurricanes. The report will include an
estimate of how much each of those improvements would cost, the expected
insurance savings if the improvements were made, and a rating of the home’s
current ability to withstand a hurricane and the home’s future ability with
The Miami program is being conducted through the Department of Financial
Services’ partnership with Miami-Dade County’s Mitigation Program and
Community Action Agency, low-income homeowners like Ms. Guixens will have
the opportunity to make recommended improvements using the financial help
provided through the county matching its funds with the My Safe Florida Home
“The state of Florida is to be applauded for taking a leadership role in
making thousands of Miami-Dade County homes safer in the event of future
high wind storms,” said Bill Moriarty, Director of the Weatherization
Programs for the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency.
“This new and innovative program allows us to greatly expand on our current
efforts. We are now better prepared to protect the more than 2.6 million
residents of Miami-Dade County,” said Frank Reddish, Local Mitigation
Strategy Director for the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management.
Reddish said that the Miami-Dade program has been putting free hurricane
shutters on the homes of low-income elderly residents for several years.
Reddish says the program is currently targeting efforts to help low-income
disabled citizens. Reddish said that he works with Moriarty with the
Community Action Agency to administer this program. Not one of the homes we
retrofitted was damaged by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, Reddish said.
The Pinellas County
program will be conducted in partnership with the City of St. Petersburg.
To apply for a free home
inspection, Floridians must live in a single-family,
site-built home with an insured value of $500,000 or
less and have a valid homestead exemption.
Floridians can apply on-line at
or by calling 1-800-342-2762 to get an application
packet. Homeowners who undergo the My Safe Florida
Home inspection may also qualify for matching grants
of up to $5,000 to fortify their homes.
“St. Petersburg is pleased to partner with the state of Florida to provide
additional assistance to our residents in helping to protect their homes
from hurricane and wind damage,” said Tom de Yampert, Manager Housing &
Community Development. “This program will expand our ability to offer
hurricane hardening assistance to citizens in time for the 2007 hurricane
The department is partnering with city and county
governments, as well as non-profit organizations, to
expand the reach of the program and to strengthen a
greater number of homes against catastrophic storms.