If you need help with your home, there are avenues to get what you need

Now is the time to look into a grant if your home flooded during Hurricane Ian.

Alison Higgins, Key West Sustainability Coordinator, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the future plans for the area.

FEMA has a Flood Mitigation Grant Assistance Program that can help elevate homes, demolish and rebuild a home or help sell a home and turn the property into green space.

Higgins said, “The one that’s the most useful for most of us is the home elevation.”

If a home has never flooded, no elevation is needed, but a lot of places that flooded during Hurricane Irma flooded again with Ian.

Higgins said, “Normally when you’re applying for this grant, if you are picked, FEMA pays for 75 percent of the elevation and you only pay for 25 percent of the costs. If you flooded with Ian, you probably flood (a lot) therefor you are a higher-risk and you are more important in their grant system and you go to the head of the class.”

The FEMA grant is a nationally competitive grant, so the higher the better. Also, higher-risk homes can get more assistance from FEMA – sometimes 90 percent or even 100 percent.

Higgins said, “So if you or someone you know flooded in Ian, please get them this information. The grant is administered by the county.”

For more information, click here: https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/768/Grant-Funding-Flood-Mitigation-Assistanc

Higgins said, “It’s important to act quickly because it’s an annual deadline and it’s November 2.”

You will need to have an elevation certificate and a cost estimate for the elevation. There is a list of contractors on the above website who are willing to come out and provide in the form needed for FEMA an estimate.

This is another option in addition to the individual assistance from FEMA for Hurricane Ian.

If you did get flooded and need to replace your appliances, if you buy Energy Star, for one year in the state of Florida, it’s tax exempt.

Higgins said, “If you’re a Keys Energy customer, they also have rebates on their website that are related to Energy Star appliances. At this time when you really need something new and are forced to go and buy it, that’s really going to help you out.”

There is also a tax exemption for the next two years for wind-hardening for doors and windows or garage doors.

Higgins said, “Those are big purchases, so taking seven percent off of that is a really big deal.”

All of that can also help cut energy costs overall.

Another resource that will be available soon is My Safe Florida Home. It will provide a free home inspection and that will include what will make your home safer for hurricanes. Certain income levels could qualify for help to do the wind-hardening projects.

A weatherization program is administered by Monroe County and could include air conditioner repair or replacement, lighting, windows or doors, or insulation. Higgins said, “They pressurize your house to find out where the leaks are and then they figure out how to fix those leaks. It’s a great program and it really, really has helped a lot of people.”

The Inflation Reduction Act could give you 30 percent credit on money spent on home improvements.

Higgins said, “The Energy Star, the insulation all those things we talked about earlier, you can take the price of that, take 30 percent off and apply it to your income tax.”

Another piece of the Inflation Reduction Act includes a solar income tax credit.

Higgins said, “I took advantage of this myself. We put solar on last year. It was only at 26 percent. It’s back up to 30. That is for both solar electricity, but also solar water heating, wind and battery surge.”

Battery is a big one because that allows a solar home to last days after a hurricane even if the sun isn’t out.

Another section of the legislation is a clean vehicle income tax credit. It’s for non-gas or diesel and it’s up to $7,500 for new or $4,000 for used, up to 30 percent of the sales price. The vehicle has to be made in the United States.

Higgins said, “All of these things start January 1. They’ll last for the next ten years. If this is part of a longer-term plan you have for your house, keep these things in mind.”

All of these programs can be found here: https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/904/Resources-for-Residents