As Tuesday night's Miami-Dade County Commission’s budget hearing entered its eighth hour, Commissioner Raquel Regalado might have saved the best for last, proposing to double the Save Our Seniors Homeowners Relief Fund benefit for low-income property owners over 65, from $100 to $200.
The amendment was approved just before the adjournment of what had been a marathon session that also resulted in the stamping of the $10 billion-plus county budget for FY 2022-23.
The one-time relief credit reportedly affects about 45 Key Biscayne residents among the estimated 37,000 senior households in the county that could be eligible for the grant.
“I’m thrilled that my colleagues joined me in supporting this targeted benefit to some of our most vulnerable seniors,” Regalado said.
“Seniors on fixed incomes are at a high risk of losing their homes due to inflation, higher taxes and insurance. This benefit will make a difference for thousands of elders in our community. I’m proud of what we have done today.”
The program, created in 2010 in response to a national recession, previously provided a $100 grant to eligible residents who qualified for Florida’s Homestead Exemption for Seniors.
Tuesday's (actually Wednesday morning's) budget vote increases the grant to $200 for senior homeowners who meet income requirements.
Eligibility is determined by the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office, with checks mailed out to qualifying households.
Commissioner Regalado originally had proposed the money come from reducing a workforce housing program, but after getting pushback from fellow Commissioner Kionne McGee, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the doubling of the senior credit could be paid from a budget shift in a mortgage relief program already in place.