According to the Washington Post, the homes that survived Hurricane Michael were saved by strategically placed nails, small metal connectors, and window shutters that sealed the house. Five Habitat for Humanity houses in Panama City, built by a homeowner and his church friends lost some shingles and suffered water damage but are still standing amid the devastation surrounding them. “We have evidence that we can construct affordable housing that is resilient,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

After Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992, the state instituted a stricter building code in the early 2000s that required new buildings to use tougher nails and have more puncture-resistant walls, among other changes. But industry experts say that homeowners can go further in strengthening their homes without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

“Often the difference between a roof that stays on and one that flies off is the connection method,” Chapman-Henderson said. “A handful of additional nails can mean the difference.” In all, the five Habitat houses lost some siding, an AC unit and one window. Habitat for Humanity developed a reputation for creating storm-resistant structures after Hurricane Andrew. Its houses were built beyond code with hurricane ties, thicker lumber, windstorm plywood and metal roofs.

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