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September 13, 2001
MARTINEZ ENCOURAGES LENDERS TO GIVE RELIEF TO FAMILIES AFFECTED BY TERRORIST ATTACKS
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced that he will direct all FHA-approved lenders to provide relief to families with FHA insured mortgages affected by the recent terrorist attacks. Martinez is also taking the unusual step of asking all major mortgage lenders, including those that are not insured by FHA, to consider providing relief to the families as well.
In the past during national disasters, the nation's housing agency issued letters directing lenders to work with affected families who have FHA-insured mortgages, to provide additional mortgage flexibility. The letters specifically ask lenders not to start or threaten foreclosure for at least 90 days, while the families are recovering from the financial problems caused by the loss of a family member.
"This extraordinary period requires all of us to go the extra mile and a little beyond," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. "It is apparent that these families are going through an overwhelming experience. Adding the potential loss of a home, the foundation of many American families, to that stress can be averted with the help of lenders. That is the goal of this letter."
HUD's Government National Mortgage Association, Ginnie Mae, will also encourage lenders to follow HUD's homeowner relief guidance by advancing payments to Ginnie Mae securities investors that a lender otherwise makes from homeowner mortgage payments. Ginnie Mae will soon be issuing this guidance to affected lenders.
HUD's assistance to the victims of the terrorism will also include:
- A hotline number for HUD's Housing Counseling Clearinghouse (1-800- 569-4287), a nationwide referral center for families and individuals to obtain information on housing counseling services available in their area;
- Providing Temporary Housing and Shelter for Disaster Victims - HUD will work with FEMA to identify vacant HUD-owned homes and multi-family units that can be used as temporary housing for those forced from their homes;
- Requesting that all HUD-approved agencies reach out to affected families and provide comprehensive housing counseling services to all those in need of shelter and/or financial assistance; and,
- Providing counseling grants, should counseling agencies need additional resources to provide services.