Florida lawmakers may offer hurricane hardening program to condo association
'The idea was we have this wildly successful program for homeowners...' said Rep. Christine Hunschofsky

Article Courtesy of WPTV Channel 5

By Forrest Saunders

Published February 2, 2024


TALLAHASSEE — What the state considers a successful grant program to help harden Florida homes against hurricanes took a big step closer to sticking around for another year.

A bill making it happen is now ready for a vote in the full state Senate. That’s as lawmakers also eye bringing it to condo owners.

The My Safe Florida Home program was an explosive success when officials reincarnated the early 2000s idea in 2022. So much so, that it ran out of funds and had to be refilled in a recent special session. State lawmakers are now looking at its future and have several ideas for what to do next.

Wednesday was just the latest win for the My Safe Florida Home program. The upper chamber's Fiscal Policy Committee unanimously sent it to the full Senate for consideration in the coming weeks.

MSFH seeks to harden more Florida homes against hurricanes by providing those who qualify with up to $10,000 in grant dollars to install things like impact-resistant windows. The added benefit — so say supporters: a stronger home also means cheaper insurance.


"It’s lowered premiums on individual insurance policies," Republican Sen. Jim Boyd of Bradenton, said. "I think the average was $800-$900 per policy. That’s significant.”

Boyd’s bill would refill the program’s coffers with more than $100 million for the next fiscal year. With it, new rules would put low-income and senior homeowners (60 plus) first.

"It prioritizes — as we haven’t done in the past on My Safe Florida Home — those that could probably use the help the most," Boyd said.

That’s not all lawmakers are hammering together. A pilot program is in the works to create the My Safe Florida Condo program, which is basically what it sounds like.

"The idea was we have this wildly successful program for homeowners — why shouldn’t it also include homeowners who live in condo associations?" Democrat Rep. Christine Hunschofsky of Coconut Creek, who is helping sponsor the House version of the bill, said.

Hunschofsky said the initial run would allot $25 million, and again target low-income elder populations.

"We’re going to see how it goes," she said. "See how popular it is. See if it needs to be tweaked — if some of the definitions— but the point here is we want to help."

Both of the bills for Florida homes and condos rely on the bigger bill, the budget, to happen. That's good news for supporters. Gov. Ron DeSantis is a fan of the MSFH program and wants it to become a permanent fixture in the Sunshine State.