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Spring Into Action: Home Tips
Building for Resilience – My Safe Florida Home Program Offers Solutions
Home with roof being repaired

The devastating impact of Hurricane Ian in southwest Florida in September 2022 revealed a stark contrast between homes constructed before and after Florida's modern building codes. Engineers conducting preliminary assessments noted a "bright red line" that separated the vulnerability of old buildings from new ones.

In the face of recent destructive storms like Ian, it is evident that not all homes are created equally. Lessons learned from previous storms, including hurricanes Charley in 2004 and Michael in 2018, underscore the importance of modern construction methods in withstanding the forces of nature. But what about older homes?

The My Safe Florida Home program was created to address this concern. Administered by the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), the program offers free wind mitigation inspections for eligible homeowners statewide. These inspections identify wind resistance features and recommend potential strengthening upgrades, including protecting openings and reinforcing roofs.

Qualifying homeowners in windborne debris regions along the coast may also receive up to $10,000 in grants, when available, to assist with the cost of upgrades or retrofits. Currently, the program is not accepting new grant applications. The focus of retrofits lies in two key areas – protecting openings and reinforcing roofs.

Protecting openings involves securing windows, doors, garage doors, skylights and gable end vents against wind pressure and flying debris. Retrofitting solutions include installing hurricane shutters or impact-resistant windows and garage doors.

Reinforcing the roof is another critical aspect. Additional metal connectors can be installed during roof replacement to secure the roof to the walls, ensuring a more robust structure. Homeowners can also take steps such as increasing the nailing in the roof deck attachment, adding a secondary water barrier, and installing hurricane clips and straps.

Not only do these retrofitting measures enhance a home's ability to withstand hurricanes, but they also make financial sense. Annual insurance discounts and credits over time help offset the cost of upgrades. Moreover, a strengthened home is a more attractive and insurable risk.

Fortifying older housing stock and rebuilding homes using modern codes will lead Florida toward a climate- and disaster-resilient future. More information is available at or by contacting Tim O'Neil at 850.212.5454 or

In the face of uncertainty, building resilience is a necessity and a pathway to a safer, more secure future for all Floridians.

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