LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County has begun accepting applications for a state-funded insurance deductible program. In October, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded six counties $5 million. However, this may not be enough to meet the demand.
“There may be more demand and more need for the program than is currently allocated,” said Trey Price, executive director of Florida Housing Finance Corporation.
The money is split between six counties: Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hardee, DeSoto and Sarasota.
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 house my husband and I wanted. That was all.”
Gillis is a self-employed homeowner from Cape Coral, who suffered damage to her roof and had water in her home.
“The home insurance adjuster came out last week and I filed about the week of the storm,” she explained.
His home insurance deductible is $14,000 while his flood insurance is $13,000. She said it was no surprise.
“We were trying to make it affordable because of the age of the house and the elevation of the house,” she said.
However, that 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 under,” Price said. “For a family of two in Lee County, we’re talking about $77,280 a year and under.
The program will help residents of six different counties, but not everyone received $5 million. Price says they based the award on damage data from FEMA and the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
“The percentage of houses that were destroyed by undamaged, slightly damaged, moderately damaged, destroyed,” he said.
The problem is that needs outweigh available cash. We asked if more money could come from the Florida surplus.
“I think there’s a possibility. We need to have these discussions with the Legislative Assembly. We need to see what the data says,” Price explained. “We want to see how many requests cannot be funded because of the amount. We can take it to the Legislative Assembly and let them know that there is a great unfunded need, if in fact there is.”
Charlotte County had to stop accepting applications three days after it opened. They said it was because demand exceeded the money they expected to get from the $5 million pot.
When we asked what other resources there were, Price mentioned church groups, charities and other community organizations.
“I could use just a little help, a little extra money to cover the deductible so I can get this house in order,” Gillis said.
Gillis plans to apply, if she qualifies. If she doesn’t receive the money after applying or if she doesn’t qualify, her next step is to keep moving forward.
“I guess I’d have to find out for myself,” she said. “I’m just going to bring 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 will have to wait until the week of November 14. A spokesperson said you can be notified by emailing [email protected] You must include your name, address, phone number, email address, insurance company and deductible amount.
Charlotte County says it will likely reopen applications if they get more money.