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CUOMO ANNOUNCES HUD DISASTER ASSISTANCE TO HELP FLORIDA RECOVER FROM RAIN STORMS
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a series of actions - including the early release of almost $48 million in HUD funds - to help communities in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties in Florida recover from powerful rain storms that tore across the southern part of the state February 2-4.
President Clinton declared a major disaster in Florida on Thursday, making the accelerated aid possible.
Cuomo authorized the immediate distribution of the $47,870,000 in HUD assistance to communities in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to help pay for disaster recovery activities. The assistance would have normally gone to the communities between June and October for a range of community development programs. The funds come from HUD's Community Development Block Grant Program and from the HOME Investment Partnership Program, and are available early to communities that request the funds to help pay for disaster recovery.
For local communities in Miami-Dade County, $21.8 million in CDBG and $7.4 million in HOME funds will be available immediately. The county government itself has already received its annual funding under the programs. For communities in Broward County, $14.9 million in CDBG funds and $3.6 million in HOME funds will be available immediately.
Monroe County, which receives varying levels of funding each year from CDBG and HOME through the State of Florida rather than directly from HUD, was also part of the declared disaster area. The county is eligible to get its share of funding immediately as well, if the State requests the accelerated funding.
"HUD is committed to doing all we can to help families in Florida whose lives have been shattered by these terrible rains," 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."
Senator Bob Graham said: "Two weeks ago, El Nino brought driving rains, fierce winds, and extensive weather-related damage to South Florida. Secretary Cuomo's expeditious release of housing assistance funds is a welcome break in the clouds hanging over victims.. I am confident that his action will help to speed the rebuilding process."
Senator Connie Mack said: "In some small way, I hope the availability of funds from the CDBG program and the HOME Investment Partnership Program will provide hope to those devastated by this month's terrible storms."
Communities will not have to provide matching funds of 25 percent to receive HOME funds - as is normally required - if the funds are used for disaster recovery.
The HUD assistance can be used to: restore, rebuild and replace homes and businesses; repair and rebuild public buildings and facilities, such as water and sewer facilities damaged by the storm; and to pay for increased costs of providing public services. The assistance will supplement aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies.
In addition, the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of HUD, is issuing a memorandum to FHA lenders placing a six-month moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured home mortgages, to prevent people hit hard by the storms from losing their homes.
HUD will also make available the FHA Section 203(h) mortgage insurance program for disaster victims. The program provides 100 percent financing, with no downpayment, for individuals or families whose homes were destroyed or substantially damaged in the storms. FHA will also ease other mortgage insurance program requirements.
On top of this, 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 also 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.
At the same time, 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 Florida who cannot make their mortgage payments.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009