There is established within the Department of Economic Opportunity the Low-income Emergency Home Repair Program to assist low-income persons, especially the elderly and physically disabled, in making emergency repairs which directly affect their health and safety. (1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Grantee” means a local public or private nonprofit agency currently receiving funds from the department to conduct a weatherization assistance program in one or more counties or a public or nonprofit agency chosen as outlined in subparagraph (4)(c)4.
(b) “Subgrantee” means a local public or private nonprofit agency experienced in weatherization, emergency repairs, or rehabilitation of housing.
(2) A person is eligible to receive assistance if that person has an income in relation to that person’s family size which is at or below 125 percent of the poverty level as specified annually in the federal Office of Management and Budget Poverty Guidelines. Eligible persons over 60 years of age and eligible persons who are physically disabled shall be given priority in the program.
(3)(a) Allowable repairs, including materials and labor, which may be charged under the program include:
1. Correcting deficiencies in support beams, load-bearing walls, and floor joists.
2. Repair or replacement of unsafe or nonfunctional space heating or water heating systems.
3. Egress or physically disabled accessibility repairs, improvements, or assistive devices, including wheelchair ramps, steps, porches, handrails, or other health and safety measures.
4. Plumbing, pump, well, and line repairs to ensure safe drinking water and sanitary sewage.
5. Electrical repairs.
6. Repairs to deteriorating walls, floors, and roofs.
7. Other interior and exterior repairs as necessary for the health and safety of the resident.
(b) Administrative expenses may not exceed 10 percent of the total grant funds.
(c) Each grantee shall be required to provide an in-kind or cash match of at least 20 percent of the funds granted. Grantees and subgrantees shall be encouraged to use community resources to provide such match, including family, church, and neighborhood volunteers and materials provided by local groups and businesses. Grantees shall coordinate with local governments through their community development block grant entitlement programs and other housing programs, local housing partnerships, and agencies under contract to a lead agency for the provisions of services under the Community Care for the Elderly Act, ss. 430.201-430.207.
(4)(a) Funds appropriated to the department for the program shall be deposited in the Energy Consumption Trust Fund. Administrative and personnel costs incurred by the department in implementing the provisions of this section may be paid from the fund.
(b) The grantee may subgrant these funds to a subgrantee if the grantee is unable to serve all of the county or the target population. Grantee and subgrantee eligibility shall be determined by the department.
(c) Funds shall be distributed to grantees and subgrantees as follows:
1. For each county, a base amount of at least $3,000 shall be set aside from the total funds available, and such amount shall be deducted from the total amount appropriated by the Legislature.
2. The balance of the funds appropriated by the Legislature shall be divided by the total poverty population of the state, and this quotient shall be multiplied by each county’s share of the poverty population. That amount plus the base of at least $3,000 shall constitute each county’s share. A grantee which serves more than one county shall receive the base amount plus the poverty population share for each county to be served. Contracts with grantees may be renewed annually.
3. The funds allocated to each county shall be offered first to an existing weatherization assistance program grantee in good standing, as determined by the department, that can provide services to the target population of low-income persons, low-income elderly persons, and low-income physically disabled persons throughout the county.
4. If a weatherization assistance program grantee is not available to serve the entire county area, the funds shall be distributed through the following process:
a. An announcement of funding availability shall be provided to the county. The county may elect to administer the program.
b. If the county elects not to administer the program, the department shall establish rules to address the selection of one or more public or private not-for-profit agencies that are experienced in weatherization, rehabilitation, or emergency repair to administer the program.
5. If no eligible agency agrees to serve a county, the funds for that county shall be distributed to grantees having the best performance record as determined by department rule. At the end of the contract year, any uncontracted or unexpended funds shall be returned to the Energy Consumption Trust Fund and reallocated under the next year’s contracting cycle.
(5) The department may perform all actions appropriate and necessary to carry out the purposes of this section, including, but not limited to:
(a) Entering into contracts and agreements with the Federal Government, agencies of the state, local governments, or any person, association, corporation, or entity.
(b) Seeking and accepting funding from any public or private source.
(c) Adopting and enforcing rules consistent with this section.