Housing Repair Program

REBUILD FLORIDA: Repair, replace and elevate damaged homes

Rebuild Florida is a state-run program with federal funding through the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) and County support. Florida is slated to receive $616 million in the first round. This money will help qualified families or residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Irma repair or rebuild their homes. It also is available for property owners who rent to qualified households. $90 Million has been set aside for the Florida Keys in the first round. Click Rebuild Florida for eligibility requirements and more information.

Housing Repair Program - $50 Million Keyswide

The Housing Repair Program will rehabilitate or replace single-family and rental housing for low- and moderate-income families impacted by Hurricane Irma. DEO will manage and complete the construction on behalf of eligible applicants. 

Through a team of agency and consultant support, the state will work with a pool of qualified contractors assigned to repair, reconstruct or replace damaged properties. Applicants will be assigned a contractor and will be required to enter into agreements with the state setting forth the terms and conditions of the program. 

DEO proposes the following housing assistance activities under this program:

  • Repairs to, reconstruction, or replacement of housing units damaged by Hurricane Irma, which may include bringing the home into code compliance and mitigation against future storm impacts, including elevation.
  • The completion of work to homes that have been partially repaired.
  • Repairs to, or replacement of, manufactured homes impacted by Hurricane Irma.
  • Replacement of housing units that were included in the Home Buyout Program.
  • Temporary housing assistance is based on individual household needs and their participation in the Housing Repair Program.

The Housing Repair Program is a grant program and requires applicants to be primary resident homeowners or property owners of rental property as of the time of the Irma storm event (September 10, 2017). HUD’s regulations regarding the use of grant funding for Hurricane Irma recovery state that an alternative requirement for housing rehabilitation is assistance for second homes. 

HUD is instituting an alternative requirement to the rehabilitation provisions at 42 U.S.C. 5305(a)(4) as follows: Properties that served as second homes at the time of the disaster, or following the disaster, are not eligible for rehabilitation assistance or housing incentives. A second home is defined under this notice as a home that is not the primary residence of the owner, a tenant, or any occupant at the time of the storm or at the time of application for assistance. 

DEO may adopt policies and procedures that provide for limited exceptions to providing assistance to a second home in order to meet specific disaster recovery needs (e.g., adding affordable housing capacity); provided however that such exceptions are developed in consultation with and approved by HUD prior to implementation. DEO can verify a primary residence using a variety of documentation including, but not limited to, voter registration cards, tax returns, homestead exemptions, driver’s licenses, and rental agreements. Additionally, seasonal, short-term and vacation rental properties are not eligible for assistance.

DEO will implement construction methods that emphasize quality, durability, energy efficiency, sustainability, and mold resistance. All rehabilitation, reconstruction, and new construction will be designed to incorporate principles of sustainability, including water and energy efficiency, resilience, and mitigation against the impact of future disasters. DEO will implement and monitor construction results to ensure the safety of residents and the quality of homes assisted through the program. All housing units repaired or replaced must comply with the current HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS). The housing assistance provided under the Housing Repair Program will be built with an emphasis on high quality, durable, sustainable, and energy-efficient construction methods and materials.

Minimum standards

  • Construction standards will be based on the Florida Building Code and must meet or exceed applicable requirements.
  • Construction will comply with the Green Building Standard for all new construction of residential
    buildings and for all replacement of substantially damaged residential buildings (i.e., where repair costs exceed 50 percent of replacement cost) under the Florida Green Building Coalition.
  • For rehabilitation construction, the state will follow the Green Building Retrofit Checklist to the extent applicable to the rehabilitation work undertaken, including the use of mold-resistant products when replacing surfaces such as drywall. When older or obsolete products are replaced as part of the rehabilitation work, rehabilitation is required to use ENERGY STAR-labeled, WaterSense-labeled, or Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)-designated products and appliances, or other equivalents.

Properties with rehabilitation and/or elevation cost estimates that meet or exceed 75 percent of a comparable reconstruction or replacement house as determined by standard operating procedures and policies will provide homeowners the option to select a reconstructed or replacement house. Properties with rehabilitation and/or elevation cost estimate that meet or exceed a comparable reconstruction or replacement house may be required by the program may be limited to reconstruction or replacement as a more cost-reasonable option and therefore required. Housing Repair Program homeowner-occupant participant's household incomes cannot exceed 120 percent Area Median Income (AMI).

Duplication of Benefits

To prevent duplication of benefits, DEO will require that all sources (federal, state, local, private) and amounts of disaster housing assistance received or reasonably anticipated to be received are documented with the submission of the application for CDBG-DR funding. Duplication of benefits for housing assistance will only consider other sources of funding pertaining to structural damage caused by the hurricane. 

Assistance for contents and personal items will not be considered duplication. Prior to program-related construction, applicant awardees must submit any additional funds received for housing damage caused by the presidentially declared hurricane disaster to the State to avoid duplication of benefits. CDBG-DR funding must be the funding of last resort. Any additional funds paid to applicant awardees for the same purpose as the housing assistance award after the State has completed the repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of the applicant’s housing units must be returned to DEO.

The Basis for Calculating Housing Assistance Awards

If eligible and awarded, housing assistance award calculations may be based on the following factors:

1. In order to ensure that housing assistance amounts are cost reasonable, the maximum amount of CDBG-DR assistance available to a beneficiary under the Housing Repair Program is $150,000. In cases of demonstrable hardship or where local housing markets warrant an increase of the cap, beneficiaries may propose an alternative cap to DEO for review and approval. An increased cap may also be used to provide funding for difficult or unexpected repairs above and beyond the housing caps.

2. A review of all funding received by the applicant from any source to calculate the total previous assistance received by the applicant and to ensure no Duplication of Benefits (DOB);

3. Damage/scope of project work needed; and,

4. Reconstruction or Replacement Value

Housing assistance awards will be determined after factoring in the inputs listed above, subtracting any duplication of benefit and qualified offsets for eligible repair estimates, and then factoring in the predetermined program assistance maximums that apply to the housing assistance activities to be used. Funds qualified as DOB may be required in support of the overall construction assistance provided. Awards may include expenses for additional related costs such as green building and mitigation requirements, elevation, insurance, ADA modifications, repair or replacement of water, sewer and utility connection needs.

Cost-effective energy measures and improvements that meet local zoning and code, Decent Safe and Sanitary (DSS) or required Housing Quality Standards (HQS), especially those improvements which add enhanced resilience, such as elevation of major electrical components, roof strapping and other items are also eligible.

Environmental review and determined required remediation for items such as lead-based paint abatement, asbestos abatement, or other remediation components shall also be eligible.

Elevations will be included for applicants that meet requirements determined by the program, including substantially damaged properties as per locally approved floodplain requirements. Elevation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Elevations will not be conducted on properties outside of the floodplain, with the possible exception where elevation is required by local ordinances. DEO will follow HUD guidance to ensure all structures, defined at 44 CFR 59.1, designed principally for residential use and located in the 1 percent annual (or 100-year) floodplain, that receive assistance for new construction, repair of substantial damage, or substantial improvement, as defined at 24 CFR 55.2(b)(10), will be elevated with the lowest floor at least two feet above the 1 percent annual floodplain elevation.

If located in a 100-year floodplain, the applicant will be required by federal assistance to maintain flood insurance and notify future owners of flood insurance requirements. Federal law requires people who live in a floodplain and previously received Federal disaster funds to repair their homes as the result of a flood to carry flood insurance in perpetuity on that property. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act prohibits the receipt of disaster assistance because of lack of required flood insurance; accordingly, whether a property is subject to this requirement will be reviewed during the eligibility phase of the program. 

If an applicant is eligible for program assistance, a covenant will be required to be placed on the property requiring that flood insurance is maintained on that property in perpetuity. An award may also include assistance to pay for up to the first two years of flood insurance premiums for eligible program applicants. Such parameters to determine eligibility for assistance with flood insurance premiums shall be further defined in the state’s policies and procedures.