HLMP Year 01

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In keeping with its mision as the SUS Type I Center dedicated to hurricane research, the IHC has assembled a multidiciplinary research and support team that includes research4ers and assistants from the following SUS member universities: a) Florida International University (FIU), b) Florida Atlantic University (FAU), c) Florida State University (FSU), d) University of Florida (UFL), and e) University of South Florida (USF).

In addition the IHC will use the expertise of researchers within its own core including: a) th eLaboratory for Coastal Research and b) the Laboratory for Social and Behavioral Research.

The work of these IHC and SUS researchers will be complemented by suport from experts, in specific fields related to hurricane mitigation and mobile home, from outside the SUS community.


Research Agenda:
To address the purpose of this research project as stated in the language of the Bill Williams Residential Safety and Preparedness Act the IHC and DCA, after consultation with an ad-hoc subcommittee of the Advisory Council agreed on a set of five research tracks as follows:

  1. Sheltering for Mobile Home Parks:This research effort will examine whether sheltering-in-place is feasible in mobile home parks. The examination will be framed within the concept that sheltering-in-place, in the case of mobile home parks, means sheltering within an appropriate structure with the park as opposed to an individual mobile home. Current programs and initiatives will be analyzed, including:
    1. Work funded by the Department of Community Affairs Division of Emergency Management regarding the feasibility of retrofitting mobile home park communities centers to be used as shelters; and
    2. New community shelter standards recently development by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    This research will also address, without limitation, the following issues:

    1. How receptive are park owners and residents to the idea of sheltering-in-place?
    2. Will park residents use an on-site shelter?;
    3. What regulatory criteria govern such on-site shelters?;
    4. What liability barriers are there to overcome, such as who is responsible for people using on-site shelters?;
    5. Successes and barriers in the implementation of on-site sheltering programs;
    6. Necessary criteria to make implementation acceptable and feasible; and
    7. The necessary regulatory environment to make on-site sheltering programs feasible.
  2. Mobile Home Recycling Program:Research will focus on the parameters of recycling programs implemented by other states, including both the technical and regulatory issues involved. The Contractor will coordinate with the Department of Environmental Protection to investigate the feasibility of creating a similar program in the State of Florida. The issues that will be addressed by this research include:
    1. The incentives needed to make a recycling program work in the State of Florida;
    2. Does the existing regulatory environment in Florida facilitate the administration of such a program in the state; and
    3. Would such a program be feasible across the board or will there be significant impediments for mobile home residents at the lower end of the social-economic spectrum?
  3. Land Development and Zoning: A host of economic, political and regulatory factors that affect housing in the State of Florida have an adverse impact on mobile home parks. Research will focus on land use and zoning issues as well as the combination of economic and regulatory factors that negatively impact mobile home parks. The research will identify and analyze alternatives that may mitigate such negative impact.
  4. Incentives and Barriers to Mitigation within Homeowners Insurance:Research will be conducted to determine if government promoted and homeowner-funded loss reduction measures are being supported in tangible ways by insurers. The research will specifically address the following:
    1. Are conventionally site-built homeowners being offered insurance premium reductions for shutters or for a higher rating from the Building Code Effectiveness Grading System and if so to what extent;
    2. Are insurers recognizing the difference in construction and setup standards for the newer, wider and stronger manufactured housing units through lower rates;
    3. What incentives are already in place and what other incentives may the insurance industry be willing to consider and on what basis; and
    4. What is the potential for hurricane loss reduction that may result from insurance incentives?
  5. Loss Reduction Retrofits and Structural Performance:This research will identify and assess the effectiveness of various hurricane loss reduction measures that could be incorporated in the retrofitting of existing housing units, both conventionally site-built or manufactured, or even in their design and construction. The research will focus on:
    1. Ways to retrofit existing housing units, both site-built and manufactured homes,
    2. A review of research and testing related to loads, structural system performance and anchoring system performance for manufactured homes of different ages and types of construction
    3. Identification of potential retrofitting systems measures that may be effective in reducing the potential for damage from hurricanes.
    4. Assessments of the mitigation effectiveness (damage reduction capability) of various, and retrofitting devices and techniques and their respective benefit-cost ratios.
    5. The regulatory environment under which such loss reduction retrofitting may be allowed and recognized, and
    6. Jurisdiction and authority regarding mitigation measures that may be incorporated during mobile home manufacturing/design processes.

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