The Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program

The Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program, aka “Strengthen Mississippi Homes”, at the Mississippi Department of Insurance (“Department”) is pleased to provide you responses to frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact our office if you have a question not addressed below.

This page will be updated monthly with new information. Please check back here often.

Use the index below to go directly to a particular section on this page:


Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. What is the Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant program?

(a.) The Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant program is designed to provide wind mitigation grants to homeowners in Mississippi. Initially, the grant program will be limited to the lower six coastal counties. The Department will again request that the legislature extend this program statewide in the 2025 Legislative Session. Grant recipients must use these grants to make their home resistant to wind damage by retrofitting their home to the FORTIFIED™ standard.
(b.) The Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant program’s mission is to protect property and lower insurance rates in Mississippi.

2. Where can I learn more about FORTIFIED™?

Please visit IBHS.org to find more information regarding the Fortified standard, for existing residential homes.

3. Do I have to pay the grant back if I qualify?

(a.) No. Grants are not loans and do not need to be repaid. The purpose of this grant is to lower insurance rates in Mississippi and make homes resilient to storm damage.
(b.) Only one grant per household.

4. How is the grant program funded?

Funding for this grant program has been made available pursuant to the provisions of HB 1705, 2024 Regular Session. The Department may apply for any federal or private grants to provide additional funds. Funding does not come from Mississippi’s General Fund. Funds from this program are not tied to Federal programs such as FEMA. The Strengthen Mississippi Homes program may add additional funding options and partnership funding as positive funding opportunities arise.

5. Am I required to live in my home for any length of time after receiving the Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant?

No, you are not required to live in your home for any length of time after receiving the Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant.

6. Can I just get a new roof from the grant?

The grant program is designed to mitigate homes against wind damage. If a new roof is required, then it will be included in the scope of work for the grant to meet the Fortified standard. Grants are for the cost associated to mitigate a home to the IBHS standard up to a cost of $10,000. Any cost above $10,000 is the responsibility of the homeowner.

7. What if I just want to replace my windows or doors, or maybe I want to get hurricane shutters for my home. Will the grant pay for those items?

The goal of the grant program is to mitigate homes to the FORTIFIED™ Roof level first (roof system) and Silver level second (openings etc.). Doors and windows may be covered by the grant if there is enough funding to cover those retrofits after the Roof level is met and only if door and window retrofits are required to achieve Silver and the applicant is able to do so.

8. Who qualifies for a grant?

Residents of Mississippi of an owner-occupied, single family home and claims it as their primary residence may apply when grants are currently being awarded. (You cannot live in a condominium or mobile home).

9. When will I receive my grant award notice?

Additional information will be provided at a later date.

10. I want to apply for a grant, are there other requirements I have to meet to apply?

Yes
(a.) Your home must be in good repair.
(b.) You must provide proof that you have an in-force homeowners insurance policy before the grant will be paid.
(c.) You must have flood insurance if you are located in a special flood hazard area.
(d.) You must get and pay for out-of-pocket a home evaluation from a Certified FORTIFIED™ Evaluator that is approved by the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program.
(e.) You must be able to provide proof that you have an in-force wind insurance policy on your home at the completion of mitigation work.

11. What happens if I cannot afford to pay the cost difference between my grant award and the bids I receive?

You may opt out of the grant program at any time BEFORE you contract with a contractor. The money you paid for the home review will not be reimbursed. In order to opt out of the grant program, you must notify the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program in writing (letter, email or fax) within 30 days of receiving your grant award letter.

12. How long are the work proposals good for?

Additional information will be provided at a later date.

13. How long is the certified designation good for?

Additional information will be provided at a later date.

14. How long do I have to secure additional funding?

Additional information will be provided at a later date.

15. How long will my application remain open after bids are received?

Additional information will be provided at a later date.

16. What FORTIFIED™ levels does the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program grant cover?

The Strengthen Mississippi Homes program gives grants for homeowners to meet either the Roof and/or Silver levels at a minimum. You must achieve a FORTIFIED™ Roof designation before working towards Silver.

17. What is IBHS?

(a.) IBHS is the Institute for Business and Home Safety, a non-profit research and communications organization funded by the insurance industry.
(b.) IBHS is solely dedicated to reducing property losses resulting from natural and man-made hazards. It identifies the vulnerabilities of homes and businesses and makes recommendations for improvements to the design, construction, retrofitting, repair, and rebuilding of residential and commercial structures across the U.S. .

18. What is the FORTIFIED™ Standard?

The FORTIFIED™ Standard is a program developed by IBHS that takes a scientifically proven systems based approach to strengthening homes against wind damage. There are 3 levels of the program; Roof, Silver and Gold.
(a.) Roof: The first level of FORTIFIED™ is the Roof level which addresses the roof system of a house (including soffits and gable ends) with the primary goal of keeping water out.
(b.) SILVER: The Second level of the FORTIFIED™ Standard is the Silver level which addresses the Roof requirements in addition to openings, attached structures such as porches or carports, and the bracing of gable ends.
(c.) GOLD: The third level of FORTIFIED™, is the Gold level which requires a “Continuous Load Path” for the main structure of the home, pressure rated windows and doors, and requires chimneys to be well anchored into the roof structure.

19. What is a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator and why does the program require one?

(a.) A FORTIFIED™ Evaluator is the only individual trained and certified by IBHS to gather important information on the construction details of your home that will determine whether it is able to be mitigated.
(b.) FORTIFIED™ Evaluators inspect and gather details before, during and after the project is completed to verify that the contractor has done the work correctly and to help IBHS determine if the home meets FORTIFIED™ standards.
(c.) Once IBHS verifies that the work performed meets the program requirements, only then will a FORTIFIED™ Designation certificate be issued.

20. Is there a charge for this evaluation?

Additional information will be provided at a later date.

21. Will all homes evaluated pass the evaluation?

No. Some homes, due to the way they are constructed, will not pass the evaluation.

22. If my house is already at the Roof level can I get a grant to reach the Silver level?

Yes, so long as you did not receive a Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant to meet the Roof standard. You may only receive one grant from the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program.

23. I do not have internet access but meet the requirements for a grant. Can I still apply?

All applications are accepted electronically. It is the responsibility of the applicant to apply through the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program website.

24. How much will my grant award be?

The grant awards will cover the cost of mitigation up to $10,000.00.

25. What qualifications or training are required for contractors approved to work with the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program?

Contractors that work on the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program receive professional training on the FORTIFIED™ standard, must complete training specifically designed for the grant program and must be licensed and insured. All contractors will hold a valid home building license issued by the State of Mississippi and possess general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance where applicable.

26. Can I do the mitigation work to my home myself?

No. You must use a contractor authorized to work on the Strengthen Mississippi Homes Program. Our contractors have been certified by IBHS to perform fortified work and are licensed and in good standing with the State of Mississippi. Contractor selection is done as part of the application process and the contractor you select is responsible for all aspects of the mitigation work on your home.

27. Can I hire one of the contractors on your list to do the mitigation work before the grant is awarded?

(a.) Once the grant is awarded, and you select your contractor, our system will notify the contractor they have been awarded the job. Any work done outside of the scope of work designated by our program is not covered by a Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant.
(b.) Grants are only paid if you follow, and complete, the Strengthen Mississippi Homes grant process. A list of contractors and their contact information will be available at a later date.

28. Can the contractor I selected as part of the grant application do additional work on my home?

Yes. However, a separate contract for any additional work outside of the scope of the FORTIFIED™ Roof and/or Silver level certification will be required. This grant program will not pay for additional work on your home and you will only receive the grant amount stated on your award letter.

29. If my bid amounts are more than my grant award amount, who will pay the difference?

Homeowners are responsible for the difference. The Strengthen Mississippi Homes program will only pay the amount shown on the grant award letter.

30. For questions regarding the Strengthen Mississippi Homes Program?

Contact the Strengthen Mississippi Homes program by calling 1-800-562-2957 or by emailing the program at smh@mid.ms.gov.