Thousands of Floridians applied for a state grant program that pays up to $10,000 for home-hardening improvements in the month after it received another $100 million and expanded across the state.
For Floridians with older homes, the program is a good deal: It offers $2 for every $1 spent on strengthening potential weak points that can be breached in large storms, such as roofs, windows, garage doors and exterior doors.
But it looks like all of the available funding will be earmarked to applicants before most of the newest participants will have an opportunity to be approved.
In the first month after becoming available throughout Florida, the My Safe Florida Home program accepted 16,506 new applications for inspections, according to newly released data. That brings the overall number of applicants to 79,404, including 62,898 who applied during the previous seven months when the program was restricted to homeowners in the “high velocity wind zone” in southern Florida and along the coasts.
The first iteration of the program, approved in May 2022 and launched in November, allotted $25 million for free inspections and $115 million for home hardening grants. Program organizers said last year that the funding was expected to provide $10,000 grants to 11,500 homeowners.
In May, another $100 million, enough for 10,000 more $10,000 grants, was approved by the state Legislature along with some program changes that took effect on July 1.
Together, the two funding pools should fund $10,000 grants for 21,500 homeowners.
As of Aug. 2, 15,884 applicants were approved for grants and 12,573 grant applications were pending. But there’s only enough funding for 5,616 more $10,000 grants.
Grants are approved for improvements that inspectors identify would qualify for insurance discounts. Once an applicant becomes approved for a grant, they have a year to finish and pay