HUD No. 07-145
October 4, 2007
AMERICAN RED CROSS AND HUD AGREE TO SPEED HOUSING INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE TO DISPLACED FAMILIES IN SHELTERS
Unique agreement allows HUD 'to hit the ground running' after Presidential Declarations
WASHINGTON - Disaster victims who have been forced from their homes will access critically needed housing information and assistance more quickly because of a unique agreement signed today between the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies, HUD will gain access to Red Cross shelters in the earliest stages of a presidentially declared disaster and can begin to respond to the housing needs of certain eligible HUD-assisted families, the elderly and other special need persons.
The American Red Cross will allow HUD disaster response staff access to congregate shelters following the declaration of a major disaster by the President. HUD will then begin to inform all sheltered families of available housing opportunities through the Department's new National Housing Locator. In addition, HUD will be able to register previously HUD-assisted families and other eligible special needs persons for the Department's housing assistance programs.
Joe Becker, Red Cross Senior Vice President for Disaster Services, and Nelson R. Breg�n, HUD's Assistant Deputy Secretary for Disaster Policy and Response, signed the agreement during a ceremony held in the non-profit's disaster operations center.
Becker said, "These large disasters often leave behind despair and confusion in the hearts and minds of disaster survivors. All of us who work to help these individuals must keep this in mind, and do all that we can to get the necessary services to them as quickly as possible. This agreement between the Red Cross and HUD is a great step forward in that direction."
"This agreement gives us a huge head start in responding to major disasters," said Breg�n. "By getting access to eligible families when they first enter a Red Cross shelter allows us to hit the ground running and provide the help these families need to begin to put their lives back together."During Presidentially declared disasters, HUD is authorized to offer an array of services to assist certain eligible displaced families as they seek to recover from their losses. For example:
- National Housing Locator - The National Housing Locator combines federal housing resources with three commercial apartment locators and housing websites to offer one web-based platform that allows housing agency personnel and emergency responders immediate access to available rental housing resources nationwide.
- Granting immediate foreclosure relief - Once the President declares a major disaster, HUD immediately issues a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages;
- Making mortgage insurance available - 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; and
- Making insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation - HUD's Section 203(k) loan program enables those who have lost their homes to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. It also allows homeowners who have damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home.
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 and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.