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    New Port Richey woman finds success through My Safe Florida Home Program

    By Nadeen Yanes,

    2024-06-18
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1JFFwO_0tveHyZs00

    After seeing a series of reporting on Florida's State of Insurance, a New Port Richey woman is sharing her story of success through the state's My Safe Florida Home Program.

    The My Safe Florida Home Program offers Florida homeowners up to $10,000 in grant money to harden their home, with the goal to bring down high insurance rates. The program quickly ran out of money in 2023 but will reopen for new applications beginning July 1st.

    However, many viewers have emailed saying the process is confusing, hard to navigate, and takes a long time.

    After Carrie Smith saw a story about a Palm Harbor man who initially thought he was denied money through the program, she shared how the story worked for her.

    "This was one of the windows we got. They used to be Jalousie windows. You crank them open, but this one, I love it," Smith said, showing off her eight new hurricane-impact windows and sliding glass door.

    She and her husband made the decision to get a home equity loan to upgrade her windows, with the approval from the program that she'd be getting about two-thirds of her investment back.

    "I had to talk my husband into it. He has a hard time spending money, but I was like, 'It's going to be better for us in the long run,'" Smith said. "For the windows altogether, it was just under $13,000, and I got a little over $8,000 back."

    Smith is finding success in the program, even though she still does not qualify for an insurance discount on her premium. Companies require homeowners to harden their entire home to get that discount and bring down their rates, which has been one of the biggest complaints from viewers thus far.

    "You got to get everything done for your insurance to get a discount. Everything is expensive," Smith said. "But if you do a little bit at a time, I guess you can. I was thinking about maybe looking into the roof."

    Despite that, Smith said it was still worth it, paying about $5,000 in the end for all new storm-proof windows.

    Cliff Turner with Turning Point Home Inspections said he sees the successes of the program daily. His company is contracted by the state to perform the final inspections for the My Safe Florida Home Program. He said it's about 20% of his business these days.

    "People seem to be very, very happy," Turner said. "A lot of these folks don't have the money, so the extra $10,000 goes a long way."

    Offering this for anyone who applies when the program reopens on July 1st.

    "Ultimately, time seems to be the biggest complaint. I like to tell people to be patient," Turner said, adding that some clients average eight months to a year to complete. "I know it's hard. Some of these people have a lot of money they'd like to recoup, but when you have something of this magnitude and size for the state, it will take some time."

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