House subcommittee advances My Safe Florida Home expansion

by | Feb 13, 2024

The House State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee approved of legislation that would broaden the My Safe Florida Home Program.

The House State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday advanced legislation aimed at expanding the My Safe Florida Home Program (MSFH).

Under the bill’s purview, homeowners would be allowed multiple opportunities to apply for state-supported inspections and grants aimed at hurricane-proofing their residences. The change would be particularly beneficial for those who may have previously been denied assistance or whose circumstances have changed, establishing broader access to the program’s resources.

A stipulation within the measure would also permit homeowners to select any licensed contractor for the required improvements. This move eliminates the restriction of choosing from a pre-approved list, providing homeowners with greater flexibility and control over the process with the intention to expedite the enhancement of homes.

The bill additionally introduces a prioritization system for application reviews, with an emphasis on assisting low- and moderate-income individuals, especially those over 60 years of age.

“DSS must prioritize the review and approval of the applications by low and moderate income applicants who are at least 60 years old first,” Rep. Chip LaMarca, who sponsored the measure, told committee members.

The bill received support from the Office of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and Tasha Carter of the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate.

MSFH was created in 2006 within the Department of Financial Services (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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