February 15, 2006
JACKSON OUTLINES HUD'S RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA IN TESTIMONY BEFORE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE
HUD Secretary vows "HUD's in this for the long haul"
WASHINGTON - In the more than five months since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, the Department of Housing and Urban Development launched two emergency voucher programs, offered unprecedented mortgage assistance and helped state and local leaders begin the process of long-term disaster recovery. Those were just some of the actions detailed today by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.
Jackson told committee members that while HUD's mission is currently limited in the Gulf Coast, his entire department was "working overtime" to help find housing for HUD clients and to assist in the long-term recovery in the region.
"HUD is in this for the long haul," said Jackson. "Providing short-term and permanent housing solutions for these families and assisting the states in the region with the challenges of long-term recovery are my highest priorities."RENTAL ASSISTANCE
Though HUD's mission in helping provide transitional housing to evacuees is limited to those families HUD assisted prior to Hurricane Katrina, Jackson described HUD's initial Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP). Recently, Congress appropriated 390-million-dollars to fund the HUD's Disaster Voucher Program that will expand this assistance to include those previously HUD-assisted families who were directly impacted by Hurricane Rita. To read more about HUD's Disaster Voucher Program, visit HUD's website.COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Recognizing HUD's track record in long-term disaster recovery, Congress appropriated $11.5 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to five Gulf Coast states to assist in long-term recovery in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Jackson allocated this funding among Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Texas based on areas of concentrated housing destruction and significant unmet housing needs.
In addition, HUD issued more than 40 waivers to its normal program rules, cutting red tape, and allowing state and local leaders to put their funding to work as quickly as possible.MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE
Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, Jackson imposed a 90-day foreclosure moratorium to help FHA-insured homeowners in disaster areas who found they could no longer pay their mortgages. Jackson extended this moratorium another 90-days just prior to the holidays to give these homeowners more time to get back on their feet.
Recognizing that many FHA-insured families still needed help, HUD announced its Mortgage Assistance Initiative that provided unprecedented relief to FHA-insured families living in disaster areas. Under this plan, FHA will offer thousands of families an interest-free loan to cover their mortgage expenses for up to 12 months. These families are not required to repay this loan until they sell their house, refinance their first mortgage or pay off their primary home loan. To read more about FHA's Mortgage Assistance Initiative, visit HUD's website.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and 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 and espanol.hud.gov.
NOTE: To read Secretary's Jackson's written testimony, visit HUD's website.