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HUD No. 02-002
Peggy Johannsen, (202)708-0685
Or contact your local HUD office
For Release
Thursday
January 3, 2002

HUD Announces $800,000 in Housing and Business Assistance for On-going Disaster Recover in El Salvador

WASHINGTON - Poor families and small businesses trying to recover from recent natural disasters in El Salvador will soon be able to take advantage of loans thanks to $800,000 in assistance announced today by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez.

Over $700,000 of this amount will be used for a revolving fund to make loans, averaging about $1300, to individual households to repair homes and increase income by expanding small businesses. The loans could help purchase such items as sewing machines and fabrics, carpenter's tools and lumber, or clay and other materials for handicrafts. HUD will work with a local lending institution, Fundacion Salvadoreļæ½a de Apoyo Integral, or FUSAI, which will make and service the loans.

"Having seen the devastation caused by the earthquakes in person, I know that financial support is critically needed from the United States and President Bush is committed to rebuilding the lives and homes of the Salvadoran people," Martinez said.

El Salvador is still rebuilding from the ravages caused by Hurricane Mitch in late 1998 and back-to-back earthquakes last year.

Martinez became the first member of Bush's Cabinet to visit El Salvador when he toured the region for three days in June to assess reconstruction efforts in this Central American country. While there, Martinez signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in which El Salvador and the U.S. pledged further collaboration on housing and community development issues.

In addition to providing the $700,000 in lending capital, HUD, through its prime contractor, Accion International, is providing $100,000 in technical assistance to FUSAI for new management training. This is to improve the effectiveness of the lending program as well as counseling for householders on basic borrowing and property maintenance issues.

This El Salvador micro-loan program is part of a $10 million HUD designed-and-managed program for disaster reconstruction in Central America and the Caribbean. HUD has worked closely with the local organizations and with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Missions in the region over the last two and a half years.

HUD has sent about $1.7 million in assistance to El Salvador since Hurricane Mitch, which affected more than 10,000 homes and left nearly 56,000 Salvadorans homeless. Apart from the financing program outlined above, HUD projects include land-use and comprehensive planning, enhanced housing construction training, and community disaster planning. HUD is partnering with the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF), Companion Communities Development Alternatives, Accion International, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center to implement these projects.

The severe earthquakes last January and February killed more than 1,100 Salvadorans, injured another 8,000 and left 1.3 million of El Salvador's six million people homeless. The quakes destroyed or damaged 335,000 homes, 20 percent of the country's schools, more than 150 medical facilities and $25 million worth of potable water systems. The HUD projects, while not designed for earthquake-affected zones, are serving to reinforce the U.S. government's reconstruction efforts in this country.

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Content Archived: April 9, 2010

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