main menu page title feature menus content footer
My Florida C F O

CFO's Initiatives

Stay Connected

Follow the
Department of
Financial Services

Sign up for the CFO's
weekly newsletter!

Press Release

News   RSS RSS   Press Office   Archive

Gallagher Announces Partnerships with Treasure Coast Non-profits to Strengthen Homes against Hurricanes

10/2/2006

CONTACT: Tami Torres or Jeff Takacs
(850) 413-2842 

Over 1,800 Low-Income Homeowners
in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Glades and Hendry to Be Served
 
FORT PIERCE— At a home today in Fort Pierce, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced that 1,878 low-income homeowners like Ms. Eunice Burch will soon be safer from hurricanes thanks to a new partnership between St. Lucie INTACT and the My Safe Florida Home program.  Through the partnership, Ms. Burch will receive a free home inspection and assistance to make improvements that will strengthen her home against catastrophic losses.
 
"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."
 
Through the Volunteer Florida Foundation, which administers the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, three non-profit organizations in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Glades and Hendry counties are teaming up with the My Safe Florida Home program to fortify low-income homes. 
 
The non-profits serving eligible homeowners include We Help Community Development Corporation and the Indiantown Non-Profit Housing in Palm Beach County, St. Lucie INTACT and C.R.E.W., United Way of Lee County assisting in Glades and Hendry Counties.  A homeowner can earn no more than 80 percent of the Annual Median Income (AMI) to qualify for this assistance.  AMI varies by county.
 
 "I applaud and thank the non-profit community of Florida for coming together to join us in our mission to strengthen homes in Florida against the devastating effects of storm damage," said incoming Senate President Ken Pruitt, who represents Indian River, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.  "Hundreds of homeowners in our community will be better protected in the face of a hurricane through this program."
 
An estimated $4 million will be matched with services and funding through the three non-profit organizations.   Together, these organizations will serve up to 1,878 homes in the four-county area.  Participating homeowners will receive free home inspections to determine what improvements can be made to strengthen their homes against hurricane damage.  Following the inspections, homeowners will receive assistance to make recommended improvements.

"St. Lucie INTACT is excited to be partnering with the My Safe Florida Home program," said Al Rivett, executive director of St. Lucie INTACT.  "This partnership will help low-income residents of St. Lucie County to have safe haven for their families if a storm were to hit our community."

On a statewide basis, 12 non-profit organizations have partnered with My Safe Florida Home and Volunteer Florida to serve more than 4,000 low-income Floridians living in Broward, Escambia, Glades, Hendry, Miami-Dade, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk and St. Lucie counties.  My Safe Florida Home is matching $8.1 million with the resources of these 12 organizations.
 
"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 partnership with non-profit organizations 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, now referred to as My Safe Florida Home and administered by the Florida Department of Financial Services.
 
To date, the department has received more than 53,000 completed applications from Floridians eager to have free home inspections.  Nearly 5,000 inspections are currently being done in Dade, Broward and Lee counties.  Gallagher said his goal is to have 12,000 inspections completed before the end of this hurricane season, November 30.
 
To learn more about the My Safe Florida Home program, visit www.mysafefloridahome.com