Voluntary Home Buyout Program

Voluntary Home Buyout Program: $20 Million Keyswide

The deadline for application for Monroe County’s Voluntary Home Buyout Program closed Sept. 23, 2019. If the program reopens, those who filled out an application after the closing date will be notified if future programs are made available.

The State of Florida announced Monroe County will receive $15 million for the Voluntary Home Buyout Program. The voluntary program aims to reduce community risk by purchasing homes in high flood-risk areas impacted by Hurricane Irma. The City of Marathon received an additional $5 million.

Monroe County anticipates that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will process the Monroe County sub-applicant agreement to receive funding in May 2020. At this time, Monroe County will be authorized to establish the Monroe County Voluntary Home Buyout Program with the goal to purchase the first voluntary home buyout in the summer of 2020.

Monroe County submitted its application to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Thursday, September 27, 2019. The County submitted a total of 62 applications totaling more than $25 million in estimated project costs. Monroe County also submitted a proposed point prioritization system which was approved by the Board of County Commissioners. This program allows the County to purchase both the land and the structure at the pre-Hurricane Irma fair market value.

In addition to the local project prioritization criteria, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has also established a State-mandated point system which may also be viewed in the linked document. Until DEO approves the local project prioritization system, we will not be able to prioritize the projects included in the application. Approval from the DEO is needed to proceed in the program implementation.

“This is so meaningful to Monroe County recovery,” said Christine Hurley, Assistant Monroe County Administrator. “This is the beginning of changing the face of the Florida Keys by eliminating high-risk properties and recreating a resilient community.”

Properties will be prioritized by the most vulnerable populations located in low- and moderate-income areas, and those at highest risk for future flooding. Any existing structures will be demolished, and the property will be used for permanent open space, conservation, recreation, or stormwater management systems in perpetuity.

This program, if used in conjunction with the County’s sustainability infrastructure rebuilding program, will allow the County to approach a “managed retreat” to build a stronger community.

Estimated Timeline for Implementation

Monroe County received $15 Million in funding allocation through the CDBG-DR Voluntary Home Buyout Program (VHBP).  These funds will allow Monroe County to purchase the property and the structure of voluntary sellers at pre-Hurricane Irma fair market value and convert these properties to greenspace in perpetuity.   If deemed necessary, these lands may also be used for stormwater drainage or recreational purposes. 

In order to implement the VHBP, Monroe County will seek the technical expertise and staff augmentation of experienced vendor services in the areas of administrative support, survey, appraisals, legal and closings, environmental assessments, historical assessments and demolition services.

Following is an estimated timeline for program implementation:

  • Receive Sub-applicant: Receive CDBG-DR VHBP sub applicant agreement from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) – March 20, 2020.
  • County Execution: Forward sub applicant agreement to the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for approval and execution – April 15, 2020.
  • DEO Approve Request for Proposals (RFPs) for Vendor Services: Forward RFPs for vendor services to DEO for approval as required by contract – Submission by March 1, 2020/approval anticipated by April 1, 2020.
  • DEO Approval of Sub Applicant Agreement: Return the County executed agreement to the DEO for execution by the State of Florida – Submission by April 30 / approval by June 30, 2020.
  • Release RFPs for Vendor Services: Following local, state, and federally approved protocols, release RFPs for vendor services support of the VHBP with a 45-day response period – July 15, 2020/deadline for submission August 30, 2020.
  • Execute Contract with Vendors: Evaluate, prioritize and select vendors for approval and execute a contract with vendors – September 30, 2020.
  • Administrative Program Implementation:  In accordance with federal, state, and local requirements, establish all required regulatory processes and procedures for implementation of the VHBP – October 1, 2020.
  • Application Period:  Begin the applicant application process including document verification, eligibility verification, and duplication of benefits verification – December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021.
  • Prioritize Applicants:  In accordance with federal, state, and local prioritization procedures, prioritize applicants for the voluntary home buyout – March 15, 2021.
  • Implement Buyout Process:  Conduct survey, appraisal, environmental assessment, acquisition negotiation and closing procedures for buyout program – March 2021.
  • Demolition: Complete demolition procedures.

Program Background

The State of Florida allocated $10 million to Monroe County through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Voluntary Home Buyout Program. The voluntary program was created to encourage risk reduction through the purchase of residential property in high flood-risk areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.

This program allows the government to purchase your property at the pre-Hurricane Irma fair market value for both the land and the structure. Priority properties are located in low- and moderate-income areas. Any existing structures will be demolished, and the property will be used for permanent open space, conservation, recreation, or stormwater management systems in perpetuity.

Citizen Participation Plan

More Information

Interested homeowners can find more information and the application at the DEO website. The DEO application period is closed. Additional questions can be directed to rebuildflorida@deo.myflorida.com.

Mailbox damage from Hurricane Irma

Public Meeting: Voluntary Home Buyout Program

On July 22, 2019, Monroe County held a public meeting regarding the Voluntary Home Buyout Program. To view the hearing, click Video on Demand

Designated Citizen Participation Coordinators

Monroe County:

Islamorada:                    

Marathon:

REBUILD FLORIDA: Repair, replace and elevate damaged homes

Rebuild Florida is a state-run program with federal funding through the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) and County support. Florida is slated to receive $616 million in the first round. This money will help qualified families or residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Irma repair or rebuild their homes. It also is available for property owners who rent to qualified households. $90 Million has been set aside for the Florida Keys in the first round. Click Rebuild Florida for eligibility requirements and more information.