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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Florida Legislature proposes changes to the My Safe Florida Home Program

Real estate, property and financial concept. House model and stack of coins on the table for background.
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After the My Safe Florida Home program expanded last year, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved a proposal (SPB 7028) that would create a priority list for applicants and add improvements that could be covered by grants.

The proposed priority list for grants and inspections would place low-income homeowners who are at least 60 years old at the head of the line, rather than keep the program essentially first-come, first-served.

After the My Safe Florida Home program expanded last year, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday approved a proposal (SPB 7028) that would create a priority list for applicants and add improvements that could be covered by grants.

“We’re prioritizing low-income homeowners as the ones that will be served first if they make applications,” Chairman Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said before the committee unanimously backed the measure.

The proposed priority list for grants and inspections would place low-income homeowners who are at least 60 years old at the head of the line, rather than keep the program essentially first-come, first-served. Next on the proposed priority list would be all low-income homeowners, followed by moderate-income homeowners ages 60 and older, all moderate-income homeowners, and then all homeowners.

The program offers matching grants up to $10,000 for repairs to help homes better withstand storms, such as reinforcing roof-to-wall connections, upgrading roof coverings and upgrading doors and windows. Proposed changes in the bill also would cover improvements to “openings” that include exterior doors, garage doors, windows and skylights.

“You may say, ‘I thought windows were in before,’” Boyd said. “Our understanding is they are. But this clarifies the definition that they are included.”

The bill also would provide $100 million for the program during the 2024-2025 fiscal year, which will start July 1.

During the 2023 regular legislative session, lawmakers provided $100 million for the program and made changes such as increasing a cap from $500,000 to $700,000 for the insured values of properties allowed in the program. During a November special session, lawmakers approved another $176.17 million to take care of a backlog of applications for the program.

The new Senate proposal also would require homeowners who receive grants to report insurance-premium discounts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has requested $109 million for the program during the upcoming fiscal year.