Voluntary Home Buyout Program

Program Background

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity allocated $75 Million of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds to the Voluntary Home Buyout Program.  These funds will allow Monroe County to purchase the property and the home of voluntary sellers who were impacted by Hurricane Irma. The government may purchase these at pre-Hurricane Irma fair market value. The home will be demolished and the land will serve as green space in perpetuity. If deemed necessary, the land may also be used for stormwater drainage or recreational purposes. The homeowner may decline to sell his/her home at any point prior to the closing.

The deadline for application for Monroe County’s Voluntary Home Buyout Program closed in September 2019. If the program reopens, those who filled out an application after the closing date will be notified of future programs are made available.

Properties will be prioritized by the most vulnerable populations located in low- and moderate-income areas, and those at the highest risk for future flooding. In addition to the State required criteria that prioritized vulnerable populations, Monroe County submitted a proposed risk-based local point prioritization system which was approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

This program, if used in conjunction with the County’s sustainability infrastructure rebuilding program, will allow the County to approach a “managed retreat” to build a stronger community.

In order to implement the VHBP, Monroe County will seek the technical expertise and staff augmentation of experienced vendor services in the areas of administrative support, survey, appraisals, legal and closings, environmental assessments, historical assessments, and demolition services.

Estimated Timeline for Completion

Roadmap image

HUD Fair Housing Logo which is a house outline with an equal sign in it
HUD logo with a ribbon and the contact information for HUD
  1. Cynthia Guerra

    Acquisition Manager, VHBP Fair Housing Coordinator
    Phone: 305-453-8756

Vicki Boguszewski

Monroe County Case Manager
Email: Vicki Boguszewski
Phone: 786-643-3695

Maria Covelli

Grant Coordinator
City of Marathon
Email: Maria Covelli
Phone: 305-743-0033 x4109
City of Marathon Program Page

Monroe County Voluntary Home Buyout Program Guidelines

The Monroe County Program Guidelines were finalized as of February 2021. The provisions within the guidelines may be amended over time as needed, in accordance with the requirements of the sub-recipient agreement.

December 2020 Program Update – Tier 1 Environmental Review Record Approved

Monroe County has received the approval of the required Tier 1 Environmental Review of the program.  The links below provide access to the related documents:

August 2020 Program Update – the following information was mailed to pre-registered applicants:

Monroe County is working with the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on program implementation at this time.  We are on schedule to begin the formal application process in December 2020, or early 2021.  At that time, all pre-registered applicants will need to complete the full application and submit all HUD-required documents.  The application process will allow us to make determinations of eligibility and prioritization per program requirements.

If you are pre-registered and did not receive this information in the mail, call Cynthia Guerra at 305-453-8756 or email Buyouts@monroecounty-fl.gov to update your contact information and verify your continued interest in the program.  The deadline to pre-register for Monroe County’s Voluntary Home Buyout Program closed Sept. 23, 2019.  If the program reopens, those who filled out an application after the closing date will be notified.

Subrecipient Agreement Executed

The Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Voluntary Home Buyout Program sub-recipient agreement between the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners was fully executed on June 4, 2020.

Voluntary Home Buyout Complaint and Appeal Process

Citizens and applicants who are dissatisfied with functions or decisions undertaken as part of the Voluntary Home Buyout Program may file a complaint or appeal.  The complaint and appeal process is detailed in the Voluntary Home Buyout Program Guidelines.

Anti-Fraud and Compliance Policy

 Monroe County will aggressively investigate all allegations of misconduct, fraud, waste or abuse regarding eligibility and the disbursement of award amounts to applicants.  With the assistance of our grant management contractor, processes have been developed to ensure applicant information is verified and systems are in place to detect and prevent fraud, waste or abuse.  All suspected cases of fraud, waste or abuse shall be referred to the HUD Office of Inspector General Hotline at 800-347-3735, 800-877-8339 TTY/ASCII, or email hotline@hudoig.gov.

Citizen Participation Plan

More Information

Interested homeowners can find more information on the DEO website.

Citizen Complaint Policy for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Programs

Citizens are encouraged to submit their views and proposals on all aspects of a Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) at public hearings when funds are requested and approved by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners. Citizens may, at any time, submit written comments or complaints to Monroe County to the contact listed below.  Local officials shall make every effort to provide written responses to citizen proposals or complaints within fifteen (15) working days of the receipt of such comments or complaints where practicable. Should, after a reasonable period, a party believes that his/her comment or complaint has not been properly addressed or considered, then the aggrieved may appeal his/her case to Monroe County Board of County Commissioners at any regularly scheduled public meeting.

Should Monroe County be unable to sufficiently resolve an objection or complaint, it may be forwarded by the aggrieved party to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) at the contact listed below.  The state will make every effort to provide a timely written response within 15 working days of the receipt of the complaint, where practicable. The aim of the state will be to always attempt to resolve complaints in a manner that is both sensitive to the complainant’s concerns and achieves a fair result.

Citizens may, at any time, contact the DEO and/or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development directly to register comments, objections, or complaints concerning Monroe County CDBG application(s) and/or program(s). Citizens are encouraged, however, to attempt to resolve any complaints at the local level as outlined above prior to contacting the DEO or HUD.

All comments or complaints may be submitted to the following:

Monroe County CDBG Programs
102050 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Rebuild Florida Constituent Services
Rebuild Florida Program
107 E. Madison Street
Caldwell Building, MSC 160
Tallahassee, Florida 32399            

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Community Planning and Development Division
Atlanta Regional Office
Five Points Plaza Building
40 Marietta Street
Atlanta, Fa 30303-2806

Records of all comments, objections, and/or complaints by citizens concerning the Monroe County CDBG programs and subsequent action taken in response to those comments will be maintained on file at Monroe County and shall be made available for public inspection upon request.

Complaint files will include the following:

  1.  The name of the person who filed the complaint;
  2. The date the complaint was received;
  3. A description of the complaint;
  4. The name of each person contacted in relation to the complaint;
  5. A summary of the results of the review or investigation of the complaint; and
  6. An explanation of the resolution (e.g., the reason the file was closed).

On May 20, 2020, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved the Citizen Complaint Procedure.