In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD office
March 02, 2001
HUD SPEEDS ASSISTANCE AND DISASTER SERVICES TO EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS IN WASHINGTON STATE
WASHINGTON - Working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will expedite federal assistance to communities in Washington State and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters hit by Wednesday's earthquake.
In the wake of President Bush's disaster declaration, HUD is imposing a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of home mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in six counties. Under the President's declaration, nearly 54,000 FHA-insured homeowners in the counties of King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce and Thurston are protected by the moratorium. In addition, the FHA will help families recover by providing mortgage insurance and rehabilitation assistance.
HUD will also help relocate displaced families and individuals receiving Section 8 rental assistance. Local public housing agencies can also apply for emergency relief through HUD's Public Housing Reserve Fund for Emergencies and Disasters to help repair or rebuild damaged public housing properties.
"Nothing is worse than losing your home following a disaster like this," HUD Secretary Mel Martinez said. "We're changing some policies so that we can help put people's lives back together quickly."
In earthquake damaged areas, HUD will waive certain statutory provisions should communities decide to redirect any Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME funds for disaster relief.
FEMA is leading the nation's disaster response and will assess the extent of the damage from the earthquake. HUD is assisting FEMA to identify vacant public housing and HUD-owned homes to provide temporary housing for those forced from their homes. HUD is also providing staff to Disaster Field Offices set up by FEMA to provide information on programs designed to meet the immediate housing needs of those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
HUD, through the FHA, makes available mortgage insurance for disaster victims under the Section 203(h) Special Mortgage Insurance Program. This program provides 100 percent, no down payment financing for individuals and families whose homes were destroyed or substantially damaged.
FHA also insures Section 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgages regardless of the age of the property. This enables homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages whose homes are destroyed to qualify for a new FHA-insured mortgage loan, eases debt restrictions and permits homeowners to begin the mortgage application process while insurance settlements are processed.
For more information about these and other HUD programs to assist disaster victims, call (202) 708-3587 extension 4538, the Seattle Field Office (206) 220-5104 or visit HUD's web site.