What you need to know about
Strengthen Alabama Homes
Strengthen Alabama Homes (SAH) provides grants to Alabama residents for residential wind mitigation on existing, owner occupied, single family homes. Funding for this program comes from the insurance industry in Alabama and is not funded from the state’s general budget, nor is it tied to a federally funded program. This program provides $10,000 towards a brand new, Fortified Roof, or if you've already received a Fortified Roof, it can go towards the materials needed to achieve Fortified Silver designation.
What is the Strengthen Alabama Homes program (SAH)?
SAH provides grants to Alabama residents for residential wind mitigation on existing, owner occupied, single family homes. Funding for this program comes from the insurance industry in Alabama and is not funded from the state’s general budget, nor is it tied to a federally funded program.
What is wind mitigation?
Wind mitigation consists of construction methods that strengthen a home against severe storms, high winds and wind driven rain. Mitigation reduces the risk of damage to homes during storms, and in Alabama, provides homeowners discounts to their wind insurance premium and deductible.
What is FORTIFIED?
The mitigation standard adopted by the Strengthen Alabama Homes program is known as the FORTIFIED Home™ program and it was developed by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). To receive this grant, you must reach the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof or Silver standard.
What should I know?
Applicants should understand the following before applying:
- Grants will pay 100% of the cost of mitigation up to $10,000
- The grant award amount MAY NOT cover the entire cost of the work needed
- Work completed must meet the FORTIFIED™ Roof or Silver standard
- Homeowners must pay a small fee for the FORTIFIED™ Evaluation
- The grant award amount will not be visible until all three bids are received. Remember, the grant maximum amount that you can be awarded will not exceed $10,000.
Do I qualify?
- This is not an income-based grant. You qualify for 100% of the grant* regardless of income.
- Residents that claim their primary residence in counties where grants are being awarded may apply. (You cannot live in a condominium or mobile home).
- Your home must be in good repair.
- You must provide proof that you have an in-force homeowners insurance policy before the grant will be paid.
- You must be able to provide proof that you have an in-force wind insurance policy on your home before the grant will be paid.
- You must have flood insurance if your home is in a special flood hazard area. This policy can be from the National Flood Insurance Plan or a policy written by a private insurance carrier.
- You must get a home evaluation from a Certified FORTIFIED™ Evaluator who is approved by the Strengthen Alabama Homes program. You will have the opportunity to select your Evaluator after you fill out the grant application.
* The grant amount issued for this program will cover 100% of the cost of the mitigation up to $10,000. The applicant is responsible for paying all costs for their mitigation project that exceed $10,000. All funds for this grant must be applied to a mitigation project that completes a FORTIFIED™ designation.
How do I apply?
The first step is to create a profile, complete the questions and upload the required documentation: income verification and insurance declaration pages. The next step is to choose a FORTIFIED Evaluator to complete a home evaluation. Choose Knockout!
What do I need?
- Property insurance coverage.
- Coverage against damage from wind.
This may be included with property insurance, or may be a separate policy.
- If applicable, proof of flood insurance on the property to be mitigated.
You may review the FEMA FIRM maps to determine if the property needs to have flood insurance coverage. Please visit http://www.fema.gov to learn more about flood insurance and if your property is located in a floodplain.
Please do not send supporting documents such as W-2’s, Schedule A, etc.
Tax Return Form 1040- We need all pages of the form to include your signature page and social security number.
Power of Attorney- If you hold the Power of Attorney (POA) for an applicant with the Strengthen Alabama Homes program, we must have a copy of the POA on file in our office before any staff member will discuss any detail dealing with the grant for the applicant.
What is a FORTIFIED™ Evaluation?
A FORTIFIED evaluation is a required step in the FORTIFIED process and provides homeowners and contractors an understanding of the work needed to mitigate a home. A certified FORTIFIED Evaluator will perform an initial review of the current condition of the home and provide documentation of the steps needed to reach either the FORTIFIED™ Roof or Silver level. As mitigation continues, the Evaluator will work with your chosen contractor to document all the work and submit the home for certification. You, as the homeowner, are responsible for paying the small fee for the evaluation directly to the evaluator.Our grants do not cover the cost of the evaluation.
Choosing a Contractor:
Once your home passes the evaluation, you will choose three contractors from a list of SAH qualified and trained contractors to provide bids for the specific work needed on your home. Once all three bids are submitted, you will receive the grant award letter. You must have the grant award letter from the SAH program before mitigation work can begin.
Your application will be evaluated provided funds are available and your home is able to be mitigated. If there are any costs above the grant award amount, these will be the responsibility of the homeowner. Contracts for all mitigation work will be between the contractor and the homeowner. When the mitigation work is completed on your home and you receive an IBHS FORTIFIED™ designation (a certificate), SAH will issue payment up to the grant amount stated in your award letter directly to the contractor on your behalf. We do not issue funds to the homeowner.
What are the costs?
FORTIFIED™ Evaluators charge a small fee for their service. These fees vary by evaluator. Knockout Inspections charges $100 for the initial qualification evaluation. After the roof is completed and the certificate is designated, Knockout Inspections charges $400 to achieve the certificate which is required to upload to the state as part of the program. Although you are required to pay a small fee for the evaluation, the SAH grant program is not a reimbursement program and you are not required to pay for the work on your home up-front for the mitigation work.
What are the benefits?
Homes with a FORTIFIED™ Designation in Alabama receive discounts on the wind portion of their homeowner’s insurance premium. Additionally, a new study from the University of Alabama shows that FORTIFIED™ homes sell for nearly 7% more than non-FORTIFIED™ homes. Contact your insurance agent for discount details. Once your project is complete, SAH will ensure you are receiving the appropriate insurance discount.
Shop Your Insurance!
Whether you apply for a grant or not, we encourage you to shop for homeowner’s insurance to ensure you have the coverage that is best for you and your family.
Please contact SAH if you have questions concerning wind mitigation opportunities in Alabama. If you have questions about the FORTIFIED process or designation, please contact Knockout
Ready to Apply?
Click on the Begin your Application button below to start the application process. You will then be prompted to begin your grant application.
STEPS OF THE STRENGTHEN ALABAMA HOMES GRANT PROGRAM
Step 1: Create your online profile.
– Complete questions and submit paperwork: Income information and Insurance Policy Declaration Page(s)
– Submit your last years’ filed Federal 1040 form. DO NOT submit your ALABAMA Form 40. If you receive social security, please submit your last
years’ benefit statement.
– Upload Homeowners insurance policy declarations page, Wind insurance policy (if a separate policy) and Flood insurance policy (if in a Special
Flood Hazard Zone)
Step 2: Select a FORTIFIED Evaluator*
* The Applicant is responsible for the full cost of the Evaluation.
Step 3: Complete the Fortified Evaluation
- There is a fee for the evaluation.
- You will receive a pass or fail on your home evaluation. Homes that fail the Evaluation are ineligible for the grant program.
- If your home passes, you will be prompted to choose three (3) contractors to bid on the work needed on your home from a list of program contacts.
- Contact information for Contractors is located on our website. Please research them before you apply for the grant. You will be prompted to choose 3 during the application process.
Step 4: Choose 3 contractors to bid the mitigation work on your home
– Also, at this time, request 3 homeowner’s insurance quotes for your home. Include the desired level of FORTIFIED in the quotes. This will give you an
idea of the insurance premium discount you will receive
Step 5: Once all bids are submitted from the contractors you chose, your application will be evaluated by SAH. Once it’s approved (you will receive an email) you will receive your grant award amount* and bids. You will be notified of any out-of-pocket construction expenses.
* If cost of mitigation is under $10,000, you will receive the amount for which the cost of mitigation will be.
Step 6: Select your final bid and level of mitigation you wish to obtain
– NOTE: The contract for any mitigation work will be between you and the contractor, not the grant program or evaluator.
Step 7: Once the work is completed, your FORTIFIED Evaluator might ask for an additional visit to ensure your home meets all FORTIFIED requirements. The FORTIFIED application is submitted to IBHS and audited. Pending successful audit, a certificate is designated to the Evaluator. This is where the additional payment to the evaluator will be required.
– For the application, audit, and certificate, Knockout Inspections charges $400.
Step 8: Once the work is completed and the applicant receives the home’s designated certificate, SAH will pay the grant award directly to the contractor. Any balance in addition to the grant is payable by the homeowner out-of-pocket under the terms of the contract between the homeowner and contractor.
– NOTE: The contract for all work is between the applicant and the contractor. Any balance due to the contractor, beyond the grant amount, is
payable by the homeowner out-of-pocket under the terms of the contract between the homeowner and the contractor.
Step 9: Submit all post mitigation insurance declaration pages reflecting the discounts applied.
Step 10: The SAH Program will follow-up with your insurer to confirm you are receiving the wind premium discounts mandated under state law.
Call us today to discuss how we can help get your home FORTIFIED