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VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES HUD DISASTER RECOVERY ASSISTANCE FOR MAINE
AUGUSTA, MAINE – Vice President Al Gore today announced a series of actions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to speed disaster recovery efforts in Maine from the severe winter storm that hit the state in recent days. The storm knocked out power to thousands of residents and businesses, forced many businesses to close and caused property damage around the state.
The new HUD actions include authorization for the immediate distribution of $28 million in HUD assistance that would normally have gone to the State of Maine in April and to individual communities in July for a broad range of community development programs.. The funds come from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and from the HOME Investment Partnership Program.
President Clinton declared a major disaster for 15 of Maine’s 16 counties on Wednesday, making the accelerated aid possible.
The HUD assistance can be used to: repair homes and businesses; repair and rebuild public buildings and facilities, such as water and sewer facilities; and to pay for clearance and demolition of structures damaged by the storm.
"My most immediate priority is to do everything I possibly can to help Maine’s families in these difficult days of disaster -- to help them stay warm and safe today, and rebuild their homes and lives tomorrow," the Vice President said. "The people of Maine have shown remarkable courage since the storm hit, and we are committed to doing our share. Together, we’re going to prove that we are tougher than even the most vicious ice storm."
"HUD is committed to doing all it can to help the families whose lives have been interrupted by this disaster," Secretary Andrew Cuomo said. "Special programs can’t erase the pain and suffering these families have experienced, but they can play an essential role in rebuilding strong, vibrant communities."
The accelerated assistance will be available for distribution in these amounts:
The state will make available its share of the funds to smaller communities in Maine.
In addition, the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of HUD, is issuing a moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured home mortgages, to prevent people hit hard by the storm from losing their homes. HUD will also make available the FHA Section 203(h) mortgage insurance program for disaster victims -- 100 percent financing for individuals or families whose homes were destroyed or substantially damaged in the storm. FHA will also ease other mortgage insurance program requirements.
Also, public housing authorities may reprogram Comprehensive Grant Program or other modernization programs’ funds to address damage to public housing property caused by the disaster. HUD will expedite requests for reprogramming from smaller Public Housing Authorities, which receive Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program Funds. For disaster recovery costs not covered by insurance or other Federal assistance, public housing authorities may contact the local HUD public housing office to request funds from the Reserve for Emergencies and Disasters.
Similarly, the Government National Mortgage Association, another entity within HUD, is encouraging all single-family, multifamily, and manufactured housing security issuers to provide as much forbearance as possible to homeowners in Maine who cannot make their mortgage payments.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009