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Good News for Florida Keys Homeowners in Flood-Prone Areas

Residents of Florida Keys waterfront homes, or residents whose home is prone to flooding, good news may be heading your way. Monroe County has announced that it is participating in the national Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program. This federally funded program is part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is aimed at cutting down the risk of repeated flood damage to homes in high risk areas. The program offers grants to homeowners who live in flood-prone areas and have, usually, experienced flood damage in the past. Grant money is given for elevating your existing home, or demolishing and reconstructing a new, more resilient home to resist future flooding. The Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program usually operates as a match-based funding program. The typical match allows for the government to pay 75% of the funding required while the homeowner is usually responsible for 25%. Another avenue of the program allows for approved homeowners to sell their property, including the home and the land it sits on, to the local government at fair market value.

All homeowners who wish to apply must be already insured by NFIP when the application is submitted. Though the program is run nationally, anyone wishing to participate must apply for grant funding directly through Monroe County. County employees will help homeowners fill out their applications, and then they will send it to the State of Florida, who will then forward it on to FEMA. As your application will go through many governmental channels, be aware that the process is a time-consuming one - sometimes taking up to three years from start to finish. This program is highly competitive, and while it is available for all Florida Keys real estate owners, homeowners are competing for grant money on a national level.

There are a range of criteria that must be met to be eligible for approval.  First and foremost, the estimate to complete work (either elevation or demolition and reconstruction) must have a positive cost/benefit ratio based on guidelines from FEMA. Additionally, homeowners must be able to contract and pay for all work on their own, as the program works as a reimbursement agency instead of paying up front for costs. Only eligible costs will be covered by the grant, such as materials, labor, permits and other costs as determined by county staff. No construction work can be done until an approved grant agreement has been given, and homeowners must agree to maintain flood insurance on the property for the life of the structure.

Those choosing elevation have specific requirements. For example, the existing home must be lifted to above base flood level, and the home must be evaluated and determined to be structurally sound before elevation begins. There is no maximum grant permitted when choosing the elevation route.

Those choosing demolition and reconstruction of a new home also have specific guidelines to follow. The newly constructed home must be no more than 10% larger than the previously demolished property. Reconstruction grants are only permitted in areas outside of the Coastal High Hazard Area, also known as Zone V. Local staff can help you determine if your home falls within this area. Applicants must be aware that grants for demolition/reconstruction are capped at $150,000.

If you sell your home to the county via this program, it will be appraised at market value. To find out more about selling a home in the Florida Keys while taking advantage of this hot real estate market, contact Broker’s Edge Realty!

The application process to apply for the 2021 Flood Mitigation Program is open now and will run through November 9, 2021. If this is something that you are interested in, contact the county for more information on how to apply for Flood Mitigation Assistance in Monroe County.


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Key Largo, Florida 33070

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