Florida bolsters My Safe Florida Home Program with $200M, includes condos

by | Apr 24, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation increasing funding for the My Safe Florida Home program to $200 million, extending its benefits to include condominiums, and prioritizing aid for seniors and low-income homeowners to enhance storm resilience and reduce insurance costs.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a pair of bills into law on Wednesday, increasing funding for the My Safe Florida Home program (MSFH) and extending its coverage to include condominiums.

Senate Bill 7028 allocates an additional $200 million to the program while simultaneously restricting the Department of Financial Services from accepting new applications or creating a waiting list once the funds are exhausted, ensuring a cap on the program’s commitments. Lawmakers amended the initial drafting of the bill, increasing the provisional funding from $107 million to the approved $200 million.

“The new funding will provide grants for nearly 20,000 Floridians with special priority going to help Florida’s seniors and low-income homeowners first,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “There is no better time than right now to harden your home against storms and cut your homeowners insurance costs. Homeowners who completed the program reported an average savings of roughly $1,000 on their insurance premiums. Another hurricane season is fast approaching and unfortunately, Mother Nature loves our state and it’s not if but when a major storm will take aim at Florida. Don’t wait to protect your biggest investment from storms – your home.”

Last November, the Florida Senate approved legislation to address the existing backlog within MSFH, allocating $176 million in funding. At the time of the package’s ratification, the program was paused due to a growing backlog of applications exceeding 17,000, alongside a lack of funds. According to the state website, applicants whose grant status indicated “Submitted” were unable to be attended to until additional funding was appropriated by the Florida Legislature.

“The My Safe Florida Home program has proven to be beneficial to Floridians by not only hardening their homes but also realizing savings on insurance premiums,” said Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter.

Reinstated in 2022 amid an ongoing rise in property insurance costs, the MSFH provides free evaluations to eligible homeowners in Florida to strengthen homes against large-scale storms. Between May 2022 and February 2023, a total of 16,724 mitigation inspections were completed and 2,979 grant applications were approved.

A second measure signed by the governor, House Bill 1029, extends the scope of the existing MSFH structure to include condominium associations through the introduction of a My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program (MSFCP), aligning with the goals of the 2006-initiated MSFH Program, which offered inspection services and financial grants to owners of single-family, site-built residences for the purpose of hurricane damage mitigation. Notably, provisions had not previously been extended to condominiums.

The MSFCP enables condominium associations to secure services from licensed inspectors to assess their buildings’ susceptibility to hurricane impacts and to obtain grants for essential fortifications, subject to available funding.

“Essentially, the bill provides to condominium associations a program similar to that of the MSFH Program in regards to requirements for participation, hurricane mitigation inspectors and inspections, eligibility for mitigation grants, contract management by the Department of Financial Services, and required annual reports,” reads a House legislative analysis.

MSFH was created in 2006 within the DFS to perform mitigation inspections of site-built, single-family, residential properties, and mitigation grants to eligible applicants to make their homes less vulnerable to hurricane damage.

The MSFH Program received $250 million in appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2006-2007, but was not funded again until 2022. Since then, the Legislature has provided approximately $433 million in subsequent additional funding to the program.

Between November 2022, and December 2023, the MSFH Program has provided more than 94,000 homeowners with hurricane mitigation inspections and approved more than 23,000 grant applications. More than 73 percent of homeowners who have completed participation in the grant component of the MSFH Program report that their insurance premiums drop or stabilize.


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