October 28, 2003
HUD ANNOUNCES DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR WILDFIRE VICTIMS
IN FOUR CALIFORNIA COUNTIES
Temporary housing and foreclosure protection offered to displaced families
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced he would speed federal disaster assistance to four California counties ravaged by wildfires and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters.
Yesterday, President Bush declared Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties as federal disaster areas. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from wildfires fueled by dry conditions and shifting Santa Ana winds.
"HUD is here to help the families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed," said Martinez. "Working closely with FEMA, the Small Business Administration and local officials, we want to give families the help they need to recover from this disaster."
- Grant immediate foreclosure relief - HUD will grant a 90-day moratorium
on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration-insured
- Provide temporary housing and shelter - HUD will work with FEMA
to identify vacant public housing and HUD-owned properties that can be used
as temporary housing for those forced from their homes;
- Offer Section 108 loan guarantee assistance - HUD will offer
state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation,
economic development and repair of public infrastructure;
- Make available mortgage insurance - HUD's Section 203(h) program
provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are
facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers are
eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs;
- Make available insurance for both mortgages and rehabilitation -
HUD's Section 203(k) loan program enables those who have lost their homes
to finance both the purchase or refinancing of a house along with its repair
or rebuilding through a single mortgage. It also allows homeowners who have
damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family
- Work with local governments to streamline re-allocating federal resources to disaster relief - HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program gives local governments in California the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for fire victims.
For more information about these and other HUD programs designed to assist disaster victims, visit HUD's disaster relief website.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing minority homeownership, 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.