LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County has started accepting applications for a state-funded insurance deductible program. In October, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $5 million to six counties. However, it may not be enough to meet demand.

“There may be more demand and more need for the program than is currently allocated,” said Trey Price, Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s Executive Director.

The money is split between six counties: Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hardee, DeSoto and Sarasota.

SHIP money

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For people like Vicki Gillis, it’s money she could use to help her rebuild.

“I knew it was going to be bad, she said. “This is the home my husband and I wanted. It was everything.”

Gillis is a self-employed Cape Coral homeowner, who suffered damage to her roof and had water in her home.

“The homeowner’s insurance adjuster came out last week and I filed pretty much the week of the storm,” she explained.

Her homeowners insurance deductible is $14,000 while her flood insurance is $13,000. She said it didn’t come as a surprise.

“We were trying to make it affordable because the age of the home and the elevation of the home,” she said.

However, it doesn’t mean help isn’t needed for people like Gillis. There are several requirements, including an income threshold.

“For a family of four [in Lee County], those numbers are $96,480 a year and less,” Price said. “For a family of two in Lee County, we’re talking about $77,280 a year and less.”

The program will help people in six different counties, but not everyone got $5 million. Price says they based the allocation based off of damage data from FEMA and the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

“The percentage of homes that were broken down by not damaged, low damage, moderate damage, destroyed,” he said.

The problem is the need outweighs the cash available. We asked if more money could come from the Florida’s surplus.

“I think that there is a possibility. We’ve got to have those discussions with the Legislature. We have to see what the data says,” Price explained. “We want to see how many applications that aren’t able to be funded because of the amount. We’ll be able to take that to the Legislature and let them know there’s a big unfunded need out there, if that does in fact exist.”

Charlotte County had to stop accepting applications three days after opening it up. They said it was because demand outweighed the money they anticipated on getting from the $5 million pot.

When we asked about what other resources there are, Price pointed to church groups, charities and other community organizations.

“I could use just a little help, little bit of extra money to cover the deductible so I can get this house back in order,” Gillis said.

Gillis plans to apply, if she qualifies. If she does not get the money after applying or doesn’t qualify, her next step is to keep pushing forward.

“I guess I would have to figure it out on my own,” she said. “I’m just going to get it back to what it was.”

If you live in Lee County, you can apply here. However, if you live in the City of Cape Coral, you’ll have to wait until the week of November 14. A spokesperson said you can be notified by sending an email to [email protected]. You need to include your name, address, phone number, email, insurance carrier and deductible amount.

Charlotte County says it will likely open applications back up if they get more money.


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