On eve of hurricane season, DeSantis expands My Safe Florida Home Program

by | Jun 1, 2023

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law Wednesday night to expand the My Safe Florida Home Program to help homeowners prepare for potential hurricane damage.
  • House Bill 881, introduced by Rep. Chip LaMarca, increases the value of eligible homes for mitigation grants and expands the program statewide.
  • The program allows inspections for opening protection mitigation in townhouses and increases grant awards for low-income homeowners.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2023, with 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and 1 to 4 major hurricanes.

With hurricane season officially beginning on June 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a piece of legislation Wednesday evening that expands the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) Program, which assists Florida homeowners in making their homes more resistant to storm damage.

The bill, House Bill 881 (HB 881), introduced by Rep. Chip LaMarca, requires eligible properties to be homesteaded and allows the program to inspect townhouses for opening protection mitigation. If an inspection determines that such mitigation would reduce the risk of hurricane damage, grant funds can be used to cover the costs. The legislation also increases the value of homes eligible for mitigation grants from $500,000 to $700,000.

LaMarca’s measure further removes the specific allocation of grant funds for low-income recipients but increases the overall grant award for low-income homeowners from $5,000 to $10,000. The bill also expands the MSFH Program statewide instead of limiting it to homes in the wind-borne debris region, according to a House legislative analysis.

Initially, the program had certain eligibility criteria for grants, such as a homestead exemption and a maximum insured value of $300,000. However, in 2022, the Legislature renewed the funding for the program and expanded the eligibility criteria to allow homeowners with homes valued up to $500,000 to apply for grants.

Between May 2022 and February 2023, a total of 16,724 mitigation inspections were completed, and 2,979 grant applications were approved.

“The ‘My Safe Florida Home’ program was a huge success last year, and I am thankful to the Governor for signing HB 881 into law which will expand the program’s eligibility requirements to provide even more access to Floridians to harden their homes as the next hurricane season approaches,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “This program not only offers Floridians the opportunity to fortify their house against storms, but to lower their insurance rates in the process. I encourage Floridians to take advantage of the savings and protect their biggest investment from storms – their homes.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its forecast for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season last week, predicting a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season, and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season.

The group’s model foresees 12 to 17 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of these, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and 1 to 4 could be major hurricanes with category 3, 4, or 5 strength and winds of 111 mph or higher. NOAA has expressed 70 percent confidence in these ranges.

According to the organization, a key factor influencing this year’s forecast is the potential development of the El Nino jetstream. After three hurricane seasons with La Nina conditions, NOAA scientists predict a high chance of El Nino’s formation, which typically suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity. However, favorable conditions in the tropical Atlantic Basin, such as an above-normal West African monsoon and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures, could offset the influence of El Nino.

Florida’s hurricane season, which runs between June 1 and November 30, has seen extreme storms in Hurricanes Ian and Irma across the past decade, resulting in a litany of preparedness measures adopted by the state legislature, including one awaiting the governor’s signature that bolsters preparedness measures in local communities following natural disasters.

“As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives. So regardless of the number of storms predicted this season, it is critical that everyone understand their risk and heed the warnings of state and local officials. Whether you live on the coast or further inland, hurricanes can cause serious impacts to everybody in their path,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.


  1. Brenda Stone

    I cant find where to sign ip gor my safe program. Brenda Stone
    166 Severin rd Se
    Port Charlotte fl 33952

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