Governor announces loan program to help with housing after Hurricane Michael

$15K loans are forgivable

MEXICO BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 11: Boats lay among the debris from homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael on October 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Florida. The hurricane hit the panhandle area with category 5 winds causing major damage. (Photo by Chris O'Meara-Pool/Getty Images)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Panama City Monday afternoon to announce a program that will provide $15,000 loans to help residents find housing after Hurricane Michael.

The Category 5 storm hit the panhandle in October 2018, destroying communities, leveling businesses and claiming 43 lives in Florida.

The recovery has been long and arduous for the area, and nearly two years later, there are residents who are still living with relatives or in RVs because they don’t have the money needed for housing, according to the governor.

DeSantis said that come Sept. 1, the state will relaunch the Hurricane Michael loan recovery program to provide residents with $15,000 loans to assist with housing costs.

The loans are forgivable as long as the borrower stays in the area for at least five years.

The loan is applicable in the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington.

Officials said those who are interested should go to and find a participating lender. The applicant must live in the home, meaning it can not be used as an investment property.

A news release offered further details about the conditions of the loan.

“Expected to launch September 1, the Hurricane Michael Recovery Loan Program will offer below market 30-year fixed rate first mortgages coupled with up to $15,000 in down payment (DPA) and closing cost assistance for qualified homebuyers. DPA loans will be zero percent interest, non-amortizing and forgivable at 20 percent per year over five years. The DPA loan is fully forgivable if an active duty serviceperson is officially reassigned and must sell the home,” it read.

The program was launched last year with $5 million that was ultimately used to help 335 families. This year, $10 million has been allocated for the program, enough to help 660 families, according to DeSantis.

“It’s a multi-year (recovery) effort, it’s not just going to happen overnight, but the resiliency has been impressive and, you know, when people are standing up, willing to help themselves, willing to help their neighbors, then obviously we need to be there, helping them as well, so that’s what we’re doing,” DeSantis said.

Click here for more information about the program.