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Posted on: December 3, 2019


Written: Press Release on whiteboard

The State of Florida announced today 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.  

“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.” 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said the funds should be contractually awarded to the County by May 2020, at which time Monroe County can begin program implementation. The County developed a grant application prior to the deadline that included 62 applicants in unincorporated Monroe County. This program allows the County to purchase both the land and the structure at the pre-Hurricane Irma fair market value. 

“Given the vast interest in the program, it is possible the County may seek more funding in future grant cycles,” said Helene Wetherington, Director of Monroe County Disaster Recovery. 

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. 

The registration process for the program is closed but may open if the State of Florida issues additional funding. For additional information on the Voluntary Home Buyout Program and ongoing updates, visit 

Following Hurricane Irma, the State designated a set aside for several programs for Monroe County, including Rebuild Florida programs. With the new allocation, the Hurricane Irma recovery set aside is now at $105 million countywide.

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