April 17, 2003
HUD SALUTES THE SACRIFICES OF THOSE FIGHTING TO FREE IRAQ
Yellow Ribbon Will Fly Until Troops Return
WASHINGTON - "Serving those who serve" was the theme as the Department Housing and Urban Development raised a 15-foot yellow ribbon to salute and show solidarity with our military forces fighting to free Iraq, especially our POW/MIAs and their families and communities.
"HUD has a number of Reservists recalled to support the efforts in Iraq," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. "We want our people and all the troops to know that we truly appreciate their sacrifices and we fully behind them."
Gregory Bresser of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and chairman of the
HUD Veteran Advisory Committee said, "This action by Secretary Martinez is in
keeping with his demonstrated concern for our nation's veterans and their families.
One of his first acts as HUD Secretary was to direct that the POW/MIA flag be
flown 24-7 in the HUD Headquarters Plaza." William Pittman, director of HUD's
Veteran Resource Center (HUDVET), is overseeing the agency's comprehensive military
"Our HUDVET Resource Center is specifically designed to assist veterans, active duty military and family members," explained Pittman. "It is a thorough and wide-ranging source of information ranging from your rights under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act to help for homeless Veterans."
HUDVET's latest offering include a
newly developed Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act fact sheet.
"We developed the fact sheet at the direct request of Secretary Martinez. He was concerned our deployed troops and their families may not be aware that the law mandates that military personnel on active duty in wartime are entitled to mortgage relief, including a lower interest rate [six percent] on their mortgages," added Pittman. "Our bilingual fact sheet provides invaluable insight for homeowners and renters."
Richard Schneider, of the Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA
and Vice Chairman of the HUD Veteran Advisory Committee said, "Our organization
was concerned that National Guard and Reserve forces called to active may not
be aware of their legal protections under the Act. Secretary Martinez took the
initiative to ensure that not only would they be made aware, but that a special
effort would be undertaken to make their family members aware of not only the
Act, but also of other HUD programs and services available to them at the state
and local level."
The toll-free number for HUDVET is 800-998-9999 (TTY 800-483-2209) during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST on weekdays.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.