Financial Assistance Offered for New Storm Shelters in Miami

Financial Assistance Offered for New Storm Shelters in Miami

The City of Miami is accepting applications from residents interested in getting new storm shelters. But there are some strict rules involved.

Living in some parts of the country also means…

“We are in tornado alley,” says City of Miami Grant Coordinator Glenda Longan.

Having a storm shelter in tornado alley can also mean…

“I’m having to go to my neighbor’s house right now,” says Miami resident Caleb Kimbrough.

…There’s high demand for those safe rooms. Kimbrough uses a storm shelter down the street from his home.

“If I was trying to get over there, and then they had family over there, and then I’m trying to get my family down in there… I just would really like to get one,” says Kimbrough.

The cost of getting a new storm shelter?

“That was another concern,” says Kimbrough.

“I think you could probably get one for $2,500, an in-ground, up to as big as you want them to be,” says Longan.

But a new reimbursement program through the City of Miami could be a big help. Federal grant money may cover up to 75% of the cost of a storm shelter, up to $2,000.

“Say you get a safe room for $2,800. You’re only going to have to come up with $800,” says Longan.

Kimbrough is excited to get started.

Kimbrough asks, “I mean, is there an application or something? How do I go about getting that?”

Signing-up with the City is the very first step, before you even buy or install a storm shelter. You have to own your own home, and be eligible for City permits for a storm shelter.

“It’s not for businesses or day cares, or businesses run out of a home,” says Longan.

People who apply for this reimbursement must be given the OK from the City of Miami before they buy or install their storm shelter.

Kimbrough says there’s one other thing about safe rooms: They seem to often go hand-in-hand with weather.

“It is that season,” says Kimbrough.

Read the full guidelines of the program below. To apply, click here.

The City of Miami is in the process of applying for an Individual Safe Room Voluntary Participation project which reimburses eligible Miami property owners 75% of the cost of their safe room up to $2,000. Applications for City of Miami residents must be submitted before June 22, 2017. The city anticipates submitting the completed application by July 31, 2017 after reviewing each application for eligibility.

Eligibility includes that homeowners must be able to certify ownership of their property and that it is their primary residence. The homeowner is responsible for payment of the safe room prior to requesting reimbursement; reimbursement must be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The local share of 25% is the responsibility of the homeowner; as the applicant, will receive reimbursement from the City of Miami for 75% of the cost of their safe room up to the maximum amount of $2,000.00 upon receipt by the City of Miami of funds from FEMA. The City of Miami will have no obligation of reimbursement to the applicant if, for any reason, funds are not received from FEMA. Safe rooms installed prior to award notification are not eligible.

A contractual obligation between the homeowner and the City of Miami does not exist until the homeowner has been notified of their acceptance into the Individual Safe Room Rebate Program. The homeowner will not initiate a contract for installation of their safe room, nor will they install their safe room under this program, before they have been notified by the City of Miami that this program has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and that they have been approved to begin installing their safe room.

The homeowner will be responsible for any and/or all maintenance or repairs to their safe room. The homeowner is responsible for making sure their safe room is designed, manufactured, and installed correctly to meet or exceed the current FEMA 320/361 and/or ICC-500 Guidelines. The homeowner must have a signed statement from their Safe Room Contractor stating such and may be required to provide documentation and impact testing upon request.

Once the homeowner has been notified that it is okay to install their safe room, they will install it and return the required paperwork to the City of Miami by the deadline. The homeowner will not be eligible for another rebate, due to federal regulations concerning duplication of benefits if they have received a saferoom rebate for their property from a different program. The complete application is available on the City’s website ( under the Emergency Management Department link. If you have questions regarding the application or need additional information, please contact the City’s grant coordinator at 918-541-2336.