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With hurricane season on the horizon, Mississippi lawmakers fund mitigation program

A hurricane mitigation program created nearly two decades ago has been funded for the first time ever.

The Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program, launched by the Mississippi Insurance Department in 2007, finally received some funding with lawmakers allocating $5 million during this year’s session. Gov. Tate Reeves signed off on the legislation on May 13.

“These funds are not from the general fund but are considered public funds,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney explained. “It limits financial grants under the program to $10,000 per recipient. And requires that MID issue a request for proposal for administration of the program or operate the program internally. I want to thank the legislature and Governor Tate Reeves for supporting this legislation.”

The Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program is intended to offer relief to policyholders in the lower six counties of the state – the most vulnerable area for hurricane activity. While Chaney did ask the legislature to extend the program statewide, he said “politics blocked the expansion.”

Grants through the program can go to mitigation efforts such as building at a higher elevation, adding hurricane shutters, fastening roofs with hurricane straps, and purchasing flood insurance. Data from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety shows that investing an extra $300 when rebuilding a roof can save thousands in damage if a hurricane were to hit.

“Not everyone has a few hundred dollars lying around to spend on mitigating your home,” Chaney said. “[This program] now provides that money needed to help our citizens.”

Further details will be released to the public once a grant application website is live, according to Chaney. The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, and pre-season forecasts indicate it could be one of the most active years to date.

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