Strengthen Alabama Homes program (SAH) was initially funded in 2016 by the Alabama State Legislature and private donors including the Federal Home Loan Bank and the AIUA. Since then the program has completed 1,043 fortifications and awarded 1,266 grants to help Alabama homeowners afford wind mitigation construction on their homes to protect against severe storms, high winds, and wind-driven rain. The program is currently available for existing, owner-occupied, single-family homes in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. However, inland homes will be eligible for the next round of funding.
SAH requires the Bronze or Silver standard of the FORTIFIED HomeTM program developed by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) be met to qualify for the grant program. The FORTIFIED program is designed to construct or retrofit homes to a high resiliency focusing on roofing, entry points and the continuous load path.
Grants provided by SAH will pay 100 percent of the mitigation costs up to $10,000. Any additional costs are the responsibility of the applicant. The grant is only applicable to homes that reach at least the Bronze standard and are certified by a FORTIFIED evaluator.
The work that the SAH is doing will lower insurance rates in Alabama and make homes more resilient and resistant to weather-related damage. When homes are built to withstand wind and rain, insurance companies don’t have to pay out as much, therefore, helping to lower the premiums charged to individuals.
Since it’s implantation SAH has received a healthy supply of applications. Currently, they are unable to accept new applications as they work to raise additional funding. Due to the success of the program so far, the State of Alabama is at the forefront of the country in home mitigation efforts and in the midst of a planning process to determine how to expand their efforts now and in the future.
After completing the SAH home mitigation, homeowners in Alabama are eligible for discounts on their wind damage coverage.
Another reason to fortify your home is to increase its resale value. ACIIR partnered with FORTIFIED to evaluate the resale value of homes after achieving a FORTIFIED designation. The study finds that homes sell for roughly seven percent more than equivalent, non-FORTIFIED homes.
Together SAH, ACIIR and FORTIFIED HomeTM are working to better protect against loss during a severe weather situation and increase resiliency in Alabama communities which are vulnerable to catastrophic hurricanes and tornadoes.