U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the State of Oklahoma in addition to resources being provided by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal partners. HUD will provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to tornadoes and severe storms. Donovan also reinforced an existing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) policy that mortgage lenders should release insurance payments to homeowners rather than applying these funds toward outstanding mortgage debt.
President Obama issued a disaster declaration for Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties. The President’s declaration allows HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to certain families living in these counties.
“We will stand with Oklahomans for as long as it takes,” said Donovan. “As families begin the difficult process to recover from this devastating storm, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can.”
One of the most immediate needs following a disaster is housing for displaced persons and families. Individuals who were receiving HUD rental assistance before the disaster should contact their Public Housing Authority, multi-family apartment manager or local HUD office for help in locating temporary housing. Individuals in need of housing who were not HUD-assisted before the disaster should contact FEMA for help with temporary housing. HUD will share information with FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties, including Public Housing Agencies and multi-family owners.
HUD will assist homeowners by:
► Granting immediate foreclosure relief for homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages – HUD granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages;
► Making mortgage insurance available to allow those who lost their homes to get 100% mortgage financing– 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
HUD is assisting the State and localities by:
► Offering the State of Oklahoma and other entitlement communities the ability to use existing federal resources toward disaster relief – HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs give the State and communities the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster 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;
► 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.