Standing Up to Hurricanes in Cape Coral

By: Bill Black

Located on the Gulf Coast of the Florida panhandle, Cape Coral is a tropical paradise affected by hurricane season from June 1 to November 30 every year, but with its rich array of waterfront real estate, a vibrant community, sandy beaches, and 335 days of bright sunshine each year - Cape Coral is also currently one of Florida's fastest growing real estate markets. A little stormy weather has never kept people from flocking to this breathtaking part of the world and now a new government program is helping Florida homeowners stand up to the annual hurricane season by providing assessments, grant money, and valuable information on insurance discounts.

The $250 million dollar program, launched by the Florida Department of Financial Services, provides free wind inspections and grants to help Floridians strengthen their homes against hurricanes. Launched in spring 2006, My Safe Florida Home provided reports on over 14,000 homes during the pilot phase alone.

What the program offers:

-Free wind inspections and certifications from government certified home inspection agencies that assess:

-Improvements necessary to increase hurricane resistance such as: roof bracing, shingling and reinforcing, secondary water barriers, soundness of windows, shutters and doors

-Assess costs

-Give your home a hurricane resistance rating based on current condition and predict future rating with improvements

Matching grants up to $5000 for home owners to improve roof bracing, installation and upgrading of windows, shutters and doors

Straight grants for low income home owners up to $5000

Who is Eligible:

- Florida residents who own a single family, detached, non-mobile home

How to apply:

-Fill out the online application at the My Safe Florida Home website or call them toll free at 1-866-513-6734

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink urges homeowners to take advantage of the free program and the valuable information it can provide. If you're a new home owner, selling your home or thinking about buying a home in Lee County, My Safe Florida Home will help you get hurricane savvy in a hurry while you prepare and protect against these annual tropical storms. The program is a great way to get assurance that your home is not only beautiful, but sturdy. You may also find that you qualify for additional insurance discounts and financial support for making necessary improvements. Sink says that the resulting reports often show homes to be better fortified than currently recorded by insurance companies. "Many homeowners are eligible to receive discounts from their insurance companies without even making a single improvement,' he says.

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