Ahead of hurricane season, Gov. DeSantis signs legislation to boost home hardening program
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/8/24-Gov. Ron DeSantis talks about the close of the 2024 Legislative Session during a news conference, Friday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'I anticipate this program being incredibly successful.'

With little over a month away from hurricane season, a program providing matching grants to homeowners who make improvements to protect against wind damage during a storm is expanding and getting an infusion of funding, after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a pair of bills.

One measure (SB 7028) adds another $200 million to the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program to help erase a backlog. It also puts elderly, low-income residents at the front of the line for new grants.

The program has “stabilized and, in some cases, reduced insurance rates,” DeSantis said before signing the legislation at an event in Pinellas County.

MSFH provides free wind mitigation inspections for homeowners and offers matching grants of twice what the homeowner pays for an improvement project, but the grant is capped at $10,000. To be eligible, the homeowner must live in the home and have a homestead exemption on the property.

Another measure (HB 1029) sets up a pilot program to expand the grants to make them available for condo associations. There’s $30 million in the main state budget to pay for the new program, and while the Legislature hasn’t formally sent the budget (HB 5001) to DeSantis’ desk, he said that money will be available for the program when he signs it.

“Right here in Pinellas County, we have hundreds of condo associations that hug our coastline. So we thought, ‘Hey, let’s get a pilot program. Let’s encourage these folks to replace these windows … secure their roofs, replace these doors,’” said Sen. Nick DiCeglie, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican who sponsored the bill. “I anticipate this program being incredibly successful.”

Both measures take effect July 1.

“A proven way to prevent hurricane damage and property loss is to fortify homes against storms,” said Michael Carlson, president and CEO of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). “Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Legislature and CFO Jimmy Patronis have prioritized storm recovery and preparedness by supporting the My Safe Florida Home Program and adding funding to cover more Floridians on the waiting list. We’re also glad to see the condominium pilot legislation signed into law and hope this program proves it can reduce the risk of loss for condo owners as well.”

The MSFH program was initially set up by the Legislature in 2006, but homeowners didn’t flock to the grants. By 2009, just $92 million had been paid out to 32,000 homeowners and the program eventually was left unfunded.

But as insurance rates soared, lawmakers have now put more than $600 million back into the program since 2022. From November 2022 to December 2023, 94,000 homes were inspected under the program and 23,000 applications were approved.

Gray Rohrer


  • Dont Say FLA

    April 24, 2024 at 12:22 pm

    Rhonda must prayed for winning the G0P Primary enough that he finally realized that hurricane that he “prayed away” just coincidentally went away and his praying had nothing to do it. ‘Cause if it did, Rhonda Dee the parrot, not the OG jail bird, would be the nominee

  • PeterH

    April 24, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    $10K is enough money to replace one sliding glass door with category 4 weather resistant glass.

  • Damon

    April 24, 2024 at 3:36 pm

    Wow, what is he, some kind of socialist?

  • Ron Forrest Ron

    April 25, 2024 at 11:37 am

    Can Rhonda’s Special Anti-Trans Aniti-Drag-Queen Polizei Squad still kick in the front door when they want to enter a home that’s been hardened? Not sure they thought this through. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it. Now Rhonda’s intern will see this and say maybe it’s not such a great idea after all.

  • Sundance

    April 25, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    They said insurance rates went up and grants and grant cash is on board. So they paid how much for the 23,000 accepted applicant’s? Trillions in possible damages. Higher waters river overflow

Comments are closed.


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