The Department of Financial Services has just launched the My Safe Florida Home Program, recently re-enacted by the Florida Legislature.
What is the My Safe Florida Home Program?
The My Safe Florida Home Program was re-enacted during the most recent Special Session of the Florida Legislature. The program has two primary components: 1. Provide, free of charge, a home inspection that identifies recommended improvements a homeowner may take to mitigate hurricane damage. 2. Eligible homeowners within defined areas of the state may apply for a matching grant to perform work on their home to retrofit their properties to make them less vulnerable to hurricane damage.
Who is eligible to receive a hurricane mitigation inspection?
An owner of a site-built, single-family, residential property may apply for and receive an inspection without any further obligation to apply for a grant.
Who is eligible to apply for a mitigation grant?
For a homeowner to be eligible for a grant, the following criteria must be met:
The homeowner must have been granted a homestead exemption on the home (If you do not know your status, please confer with your local Property Appraiser or Tax Collector’s Office.);
The home must be a dwelling with an insured value of $500,000 or less. (Homeowners who are low-income persons may be exempt from this requirement. Look for additional details in the application process);
The home must be located in the “wind-borne debris region” as that term is defined in the Florida Building Code (See map by clicking HERE.);
The building permit application for initial construction of the home must have been made before January 1, 2008 (If you do not know when your home was built, please contact your local building department); and
The homeowner must agree to make his or her home available for inspection once a mitigation project is completed.
Where can I apply for a grant? Apply HERE
How much can I receive through the grant process? The Legislature has authorized homeowners to receive up to $10,000 for the actual cost of the mitigation project. The program will provide $2 in grant funds for every $1 the homeowner provides. In order to receive the maximum grant amount, homeowners must be able to provide $5,000 of their own funds toward the project.
What types of mitigation projects will be considered for homeowners?
When recommended by a hurricane mitigation inspection, grants may be used for the following improvements:
Exterior doors, including garage doors;
Brace gable ends;
Reinforcing roof-to wall connections;
Improving the strength of roof-deck attachments;
Upgrading roof covering from code to code plus; and
Secondary water barrier for roof.
Are there any other incentives to offset cost for mitigation?
Yes, the Legislature has also provided tax exemptions for home hardening initiatives. Please click here for additional information on tax breaks. Beginning July 1, 2022 until June 30, 2024, sales tax is exempt on purchases of impact-resistant doors, impact-resistant garage doors, and impact-resistant windows.
Can I use my own inspector?
The Department of Financial Services will provide an approved list of inspectors. Homeowners must utilize an inspector from this list.
Who can be an inspector?
Hurricane inspectors, at a minimum, must meet the following criteria:
Are certified as a building inspector under s. 468.607, Florida Statutes (F.S.);
Are licensed as a general or residential contractor under s. 489.111 F.S;
Are licensed as a professional engineer under s. 471.015, F.S. and who have passed the appropriate equivalency test of the building code training program as required by s. 553.841, F.S; or
Are licensed as a professional architect under s. 481.213, F.S.
Can I choose my own contractor to complete the work on my house?
The Department of Financial Services will provide a list of contractors that have agreed to participate in the program. Applicants will be required to use a contractor from that list.