U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced that HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to three western New York counties and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes following last month's severe storms and flooding. President Barack Obama has issued a disaster declaration for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie Counties. The President's declaration allows HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to certain families living in these counties. "Families who may have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available to begin the rebuilding process," said Donovan. "Whether it's foreclosure relief for FHA-insured families or helping these counties to recover, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can." HUD will be: ► Offering the State of New York the ability to re-allocate existing federal resources toward disaster relief: HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs give the State the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for flood victims. HUD is currently contacting State and local officials to explore streamlining the Department's CDBG and HOME programs in order to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing; ► Granting immediate foreclosure relief: HUD granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages; ► Making mortgage insurance available: HUD's Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs; ► Making insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation: HUD's Section 203(k) loan program enables those who have lost their homes to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. It also allows homeowners who have damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home; and ► Offering Section 108 loan guarantee assistance: HUD will offer state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation, economic development and repair of public infrastructure. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.