HUD No. 07-161
October 26, 2007
HUD DISPATCHING DISASTER RECOVERY TEAMS TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO HELP DISPLACED FAMILIES
HUD to implement National Housing Locator to rapidly identify transitional housing for displaced families
WASHINGTON - As families return to their Southern California neighborhoods in the wake of this week's wildfires, HUD is moving forward to address longer-term housing needs by dispatching disaster recovery teams to help displaced residents locate rental housing in the vicinity.
HUD field office staff is already on site, helping to establish housing assistance points in designated shelters; in addition, HUD disaster recovery teams will be deployed in selected shelters to help locate available housing resources that can significantly expedite the recovery process. These trained staff members will offer displaced families critical housing information through HUD's new National Housing Locator. HUD's web-based locator combines vacant sales and rental housing data from federal housing resources and three widely used commercial apartment locators. Currently, there are more than 15,000 units available in the Southern California, Nevada and Arizona area.
"After these devastating fires, HUD can help families searching for another place to call home," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "The sooner families can find transitional housing, the sooner they can begin to rebuild their homes and their lives."
Using housing information including data from SocialServ.Com, Apartments.Com, HomeSales.Gov, Rentlinx.Com, WestsideRentals.com, and other sites, the National Housing Locator allows HUD staff and local housing officials to locate available housing by area, price and number of bedrooms. In addition, HUD can determine whether landlords accept pets, housing vouchers or whether the units are accessible to the disabled, elderly or other persons requiring special accommodation. In most cases, photos and landlord contact information are also provided.
Trained HUD staff will be available at Disaster Relief Centers in the following Southern California communities to assist families who are in need of housing: San Bernardino, Rancho Bernardo, Fallbrook, Ramona, and Rancho San Diego.
Earlier this month, HUD and the American Red Cross signed an agreement that will allow HUD staff to gain access to Red Cross shelters in the earliest stages of a presidentially declared disaster. For the first time, this agreement will allow HUD to respond to the immediate housing needs of certain eligible HUD-assisted families, the elderly and other special need persons in a Red Cross shelter environment.
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.