AARP-Backed Programs Will Help Older Floridians Protect Homes From Storms

Posted on 05/31/24 by Natalie Missakian

En español | Condo owners near Florida’s coastlines could see lower insurance premiums thanks to an AARP-supported program to help them strengthen their homes against hurricanes.

Legislation taking effect July 1 created the My Safe Florida Condominium Pilot Program.

Under the program, condominium associations within 15 miles of the coast may apply for free hurricane mitigation inspections and state grants to cover upgrades to improve their buildings’ ability to weather hurricanes and natural disasters, potentially reducing insurance costs.

Under a separate law, eligible adults 60 and older will have priority for state funds offered through a similar program for homeowners, which will get an additional $200 million in funding this year thanks in part to advocacy from AARP.

The condo pilot is a spin-off of that initiative, known as the My Safe Florida Home Program, which began in 2006 and was revived in 2022 after a spate of devastating hurricanes. It has helped thousands of Floridians shore up their homes against severe wind damage.

AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson called the passage of both pieces of legislation, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law April 24, a win for homeowners and condo owners.

Homeowners completing the program saved an average of $1,000 on insurance, according to the DeSantis administration.

“Florida homeowners are struggling with skyrocketing insurance premiums, largely due to the catastrophic damage caused by increasingly powerful storms. For many, there appears to be no relief in sight,” Johnson said. “These programs can help homeowners mitigate the costs of better protecting their homes from those storms, all while lowering insurance premiums.”

The state will begin taking applications for the latest cycle of grant funding July 1. The launch date for the condo program has yet to be determined.

AARP has been active around the country pushing for laws and programs to help keep older adults safe from natural disasters, which have been occurring with greater frequency. Older adults are especially vulnerable to extreme weather because of factors such as limited mobility and chronic health conditions.

Read more about how to apply to Florida’s grant programs, and keep up with our advocacy work in Florida.

Natalie Missakian covers federal and state policy and writes AARP’s Fighting for You Every Day blog. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and daily newspapers in Ohio. She has also written for the AARP Bulletin, the Hartford Business Journal and other publications.

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This story is provided by AARP Florida. Visit the AARP Florida page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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