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$20 Million through My Safe Florida Home Program Now Available to Non-profit Organizations

8/24/2006

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842 

Funds Are to Help Low-Income Floridians Strengthen Their Homes against Hurricanes
 
FT. LAUDERDALE – Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund are inviting non-profit organizations to help low-income Floridians strengthen their homes against natural disasters through the new My Safe Florida Home program.  The program has been developed by Gallagher's office to help homes better withstand hurricane damage and keep families safer.
 
The Volunteer Florida Foundation, which administers the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, is partnering with Gallagher's office to distribute up to $20 million to non-profit organizations to retrofit low-income homes in eight counties, including Broward, Escambia, Lee, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Sarasota and Volusia.
 
Through non-profit organizations participating in the program, qualifying low-income Floridians will be eligible for a free home inspection and financial assistance to strengthen their homes. 
 
"Partnering with faith- and community-based groups to help fortify low-income homes in Florida is mission critical to protecting families and reducing property losses," said Gallagher, who oversees the My Safe Florida Home program. "Through these partnerships, we will be able to leverage resources and help thousands of Floridians before the end of this hurricane season."
 
Interested non-profit organizations can get involved by responding to Volunteer Florida's request for proposal posted at www.FLAHurricaneFund.org.  The deadline for non-profit organizations to submit proposals for helping low-income homeowners fortify their houses is Wednesday, September 6, 2006. 
 
"In our long-term recovery work following the last two hurricane seasons, we at the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund have learned the enormous value of partnering with community and faith-based groups, organizations that know their communities and are effective partners in accomplishing important tasks," said Liza McFadden, President of the Volunteer Florida Foundation. "We are honored to expand our role to include mitigation work with the Department of Financial Services to ensure Florida's low-income residents get the help they need to strengthen their homes."
 
Funding for the non-profit program is possible because of a $250 million appropriation by the Florida Legislature during the 2006 Session to create the Florida Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program.  The program has been coined the My Safe Florida Home Program and was announced by Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and the Florida Department of Financial Services last week.   The Department of Financial Services designated the Volunteer Florida Foundation this week to administer the low-income portion of the program through its Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.
 
For more information on the overall mitigation program, go to www.MySafeFloridaHome.com. For more information on the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, go to www.FLAHurricaneFund.org.