Frequently Asked Questions Specific to the Hurricane Disasters

This page provides answers to questions for those affected by, or persons seeking to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina/Rita.

General Questions

Q: I am a citizen needing assistance because of Hurricane Katrina.

A: It is important that you register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately. Right now we are referring all calls to FEMA at (800) 621-3362. You can visit FEMA online. Specific information about direct assistance may be found at Additional numbers and useful Internet Websites for immediate assistance are:

  • Red Cross: (800) 435-7669 - Web:
  • Salvation Army: (800) 725-2769 - Web:
  • Catholic Charities: (800) 919-9338 - Web:
  • National Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline (800) 273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) (For the hearing impaired, the Crisis Hotline number to call is (800) 799-4TTY (4889)). The Department of Health and Human Services has a toll-free hotline for people in crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By dialing (800) 273-TALK or (800) 273-8255, callers will be connected to a network of local crisis centers across the country that are committed to crisis counseling. Callers to the hotline will receive counseling from trained staff at the closest certified crisis center in the network.

Q: I am looking for a family member, food & water, or basic shelter.

A: Contact FEMA at for information on these topics.

Q: Are there state government level emergency resources to refer the caller to?

A: FEMA maintains a directory of state emergency management departments on it's website at:

Questions from individuals displaced by Hurricane Katrina who want information about HUD homes

Q. Are there any HUD Homes available for disaster victims? A. Yes. HUD has referred to FEMA those HUD Homes that are habitable within the following states: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Please contact FEMA for further information at (800) 621-3362 - Web:

Additional information about HUD disaster relief programs is also available online at

Q. I placed a bid in a HUD Home before they were pulled out of the market. What will happen to that bid?

A. The Marketing and Management contractors were instructed to open all bids up to Friday September 2nd. If you were not notified of selection, then you are to assume that the previously submitted bid was not selected. No further bids will be accepted in the following states: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Other Homeowner and Homebuyer Questions

Q. How can I find a housing counselor that will help me with my disaster related housing problems?

A. HUD sponsors certain approved housing counseling agencies that in turn provide counseling services to citizens for free. To find a counselor that serves your neighborhood, call HUD's Toll-free number at: (800) 569-4287 or visit: (List of Housing Counseling Agencies by State.)

Q. I feel I have been treated unfairly or have been discriminated against. Who should I call?

A. Inquiries about Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and discrimination issues can be referred to telephone number: (800) 440-8091. (Closed after 6:00 p.m. EDT)

Mortgage-related questions from people

Q: I have an FHA-insured mortgage, and my home was affected by the hurricane. I won't be able to pay my mortgage. What do I do?

A: The latest FHA foreclosure moratorium is now in effect for all Hurricane Katrina disaster areas. Various mortgagee letters regarding the moratoria are available at

  • Our National Servicing Center (NSC) web site can be found at: (The goal of HUD's National Servicing Center is to help FHA homeowners by working with lenders to find creative solutions to avoid foreclosure. They also provide direction and training to lenders and Housing Counseling agencies, which are then better able to provide assistance to homeowners.)
  • HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies may be able to assist you in your communication with your FHA lender. You can locate a local housing counseling agency by calling (800) 569-4287, or at:

Q: What if I have a conventional mortgage (non FHA mortgage) and my home was affected by the hurricane. I won't be able to pay my mortgage. What do I do?

A: (9/27/2005) HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies may be able to assist you in your communications with your lender. You can locate a local housing counseling agency by calling (800) 569-4287, or at:

  1. You can also contact your lender to ask them about any disaster programs that may apply to your mortgage. Check the following sources for lender contacts:
      a. Your monthly mortgage billing statement
      b. Your payment coupon book
      c. Internet web searches
  2. Also Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) has taken measures to assist homeowners with conventional mortgages. More information on Fannie Mae's response to the hurricane disaster is on their website at: or call: (800) 732-6643.

Q. I have a federally insured mortgage that is not FHA. My mortgage is from the USDA or VA. How can I get assistance?

A. USDA's Rural Development has designated a toll free number to assist homeowners, renters and others in need of housing assistance. Their toll-free number is (800) 414-1226. Other information is available on the USDA web site at:

Information on the Veterans Administration mortgage program regarding disters can be found online by clicking here ( For assistance with individual mortgages the VA is advising homeowners to contact their lender or FEMA.

Q. I have a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) mortgage that provides for monthly payments to me. I have not received my monthly payment from my mortgagee. What should I do?

A. Contact HUD's National Servicing Center for information about the status of your HECM payment. In order for HUD to assist you, we will need the name of your mortgage lender, your FHA case number, and the address of your home. If the damage caused by the hurricane has temporarily affected your lender's ability to send you your payment, HUD may be able to assist you in obtaining your payment under your HECM mortgage loan.

Mortgage-related questions from a Lender

Q. What is the mortgagee's liability to HUD, if a borrower pursues rebuilding efforts apart from the voluntary escrow agreement under the Mississippi Homeowner Grant Assistance Program?

A. Per ML 06-16, HUD encourages mortgagees to enter into escrow agreements for repair of properties using MDA grant funds. However, if a borrower elects not to enter into a voluntary escrow agreement, HUD will not hold mortgagees with Opt-In agreements liable if the borrower breaches the MDA covenants and the property is subsequently foreclosed and conveyed to HUD in exchange for a claim for insurance benefits. The mortgagee will be expected to reduce the claim by the cost to repair the property however, HUD will not deny conveyance based on a claim that the title is unmarketable because covenants have been breached nor will HUD predicate the calculation of the repair amount based on added construction costs resulting from the covenants.

Q. My company closed on several loans in the affected areas but subsequently they have been severely damaged by the Hurricane. Will HUD insure these loans?

A. Yes, HUD will insure mortgages for properties even though they are now damaged provided that settlement occurred prior to the devastation caused by Katrina.

Q. What kind of mortgage can HUD provide to disaster victims?

A. HUD provides a mortgage insurance program to assist victims of Presidentially declared disasters, known commonly as Section 203(h). This program allows FHA to insure mortgages made by qualified lenders to individuals and families whose residences were destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or repair is necessary and are eligible for 100% financing for the purchase of a home. However, closing costs and prepaid expenses not paid by the seller must be paid by the borrower in cash or through premium pricing (slightly higher than market interest rate).

  • Information on 203(h) can be found on HUD's website at: - (describes basic- information about the 203(h) mortgage)
  • Or call the FHA Resource Center.

Q. Under HUD's mortgage insurance program for disaster victims, can I purchase a new home in an area other than the Presidentially declared disaster area?

A. Yes, disaster victims can take advantage of this program in any part of the country and are not required to purchase in the disaster area. For example, a family whose home on the Gulf Coast was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina can relocate to Chicago and purchase a new home there under this program.

Q. What kind of documentation must I provide to prove that I am eligible for this program?

A. You will need to provide documentation showing that your permanent residence was in the affected area before the disaster, which includes a valid driver's license, a voter registration card, utility bills, etc. You will also need to provide documentation regarding destruction of the residence, which includes an insurance report, an inspection report by an independent inspector or government agency, or conclusive photographic evidence showing the destruction or damage.

Q. Can I use Section 203(h) to purchase a home even though I rented the damaged property?

A. Yes, this program is available to both renters and owners of affected properties. For example, if you rented a unit in an apartment complex that was destroyed in the disaster, you may purchase a home using this program.

Q. Are there limitations to how much money I can borrow?

A. Yes, the maximum mortgage amounts under this program are the same as for HUD's basic mortgage insurance program. A list of mortgage amounts, which are determined by county, can be found on HUD's website at (This website is a search engine that displays mortgage limit data by state and county. The mortgage limits vary from county to county.)

Q. Does HUD have a loan program for repairs?

A. HUD has an insured mortgage program called 203(k). Section 203(k) insurance enables homebuyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase (and refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage - or to finance the rehabilitation of their existing home.

  • Information can be found on the web at: (This website has basic information on the 203k rehabilitation mortgage).

Q. What other loans, mortgages or grants are available to citizens for repair a home?

A. Other HUD home improvement programs can be found on the web at: Some of these programs, especially the grants, are administered through local government agencies and are not directly available through HUD. This website has a lot of different resources from HUD and other federal agencies. To Search this web site:

  • Select "Information by State" for the State where the caller is located.
  • Select "Homeownership" (see left side of the screen)
  • Scroll down to "Owning and Maintaining Your Home"
  • Select "Home Repairs"
  • You will be able to find local repair program information for the specific State. There are 50 of these pages, so you have to drill down for you selection.

Q. How can I find a lender that can help me with a mortgage to repair my home?

A. A list of lenders can be found online at: (NOTE: This is a Search Engine that will display lenders according to the search terms entered. Be sure to check 203b and 203k when searching.)

Questions from individuals that can provide housing to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina

Q. I have some properties that could be made available to disaster victims. Who do I contact?

A. HUD does not keep a list of private properties. Those with properties that they wish to make available to disaster victims may want to contact one of the following:

  1. - The Disaster Housing Resource On-line system is operated by the Florida State University. It is designed for public users to post or locate retail-level housing resources (Ex., a room for free; an apartment for rent, etc.).
  2. You may also want to contact the local Housing Authority, State Emergency Management Department, local charities, the Red Cross at (800) 435-7669, or Salvation Army at (800) 725-2769.
  3. HUD's has a list of local Housing Authorities on the web at: (Use this webpage to find a housing authority in your local area.)
  4. FEMA maintains a directory of State Emergency Management Departments ( Use this list to find local Emergency Management Departments by State.

Questions from those who were in Public Housing and/or were receiving Section 8 vouchers

Q. I was a tenant who lived in Public Housing, or I had a section 8 voucher, and I was I was displaced by Hurricane Katrina. What should I do?

A. Tenants who lived in Public Housing or had Section 8 vouchers and were displaced by Hurricane Katrina should call the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-2232. For a list of contact numbers for all Public Housing Authorities by State, go to: (Use this web page to find a housing authority in the local area of the caller)

Q. I have a Section 8 voucher in New Orleans and I am now in Dallas (or any other city). Can I use my voucher to live here permanently?

A. Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) public housing residents and vouchers holders can now call them at their temporary Houston location at: (713) 652-2924 for assistance with future public housing and vouchers.

Q. I represent a Public Housing Authority being approached by a tenant or Section 8 voucher recipient who has no documentation.

A. If the family arrives without any documentation, the PHA will obtain the name and SSN of the Head of Household that holds the voucher. The PHA will verify the current eligibility by calling the Real Estate Assessment Center (this number is for PHA's only and not for individual tenants to call) at 1-888-245-4860 and asking REAC to verify the family's participation. This number can also be used to answer other disaster-related policy questions. (Closed after 6:00 p.m. EDT)

Q: (9/30/2005) I represent a Public Housing Authority. Where can we receive guidance to provide the maximum assistance relative to the needs of displaced public housing and voucher participants, or to displaced people who were not previously associated with public housing?

A: General guidance is provided at for HUD participating Public Housing Authorities. HUD has developed the Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP) that makes available additional resources for Public Housing Authorities. KDHAP is the HUD-FEMA initiative to aid pre-disaster HUD-assisted and homeless families in finding temporary housing. This should not be confused with the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Questions related to Multifamily Housing

Q. Can CDBG funds be used to pay costs associated with services for displaced evacuees of the Gulf Coast disaster who have been forced to abandon their homes and seek shelter in other communities and states?

A. Yes. Most of these costs, such as the provision of food, temporary shelter and related services, are eligible CDBG expenditures. Beneficiaries are presumed to be low and moderate-income under the limited clientele provision at Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 570.208(a)(2)(i)(D), which qualifies the activity based on the nature and location of the activity.

Q. Does the 15% public services cap apply to services provided to displaced evacuees of the Gulf Coast disaster that have been forced to abandon their homes and seek shelter in other communities and states?

A. HUD has suspended the provision imposing a 15% cap on public service expenditures for displaced evacuees of the Gulf Coast disaster. This suspension shall be available to CDBG grantees only for purposes related to Hurricane Katrina assistance efforts. The damage attributable to Hurricane Katrina has been so great that the populace has moved to other communities and states in an effort to find the basic necessities of life, including shelter and sustenance. In this instance, addressing the damage caused by the federally declared disaster involves addressing the needs of the population displaced by the disaster. Communities exercising this waiver should so indicate in writing to HUD as soon as it is convenient.

Q. Does the proposed use of CDBG funds and other funds to pay costs associated with the expense of housing and serving displaced evacuees require grantees to implement a citizen participation process as a prelude to the allocation and expenditure of CDBG funds?

Does the proposed change constitute a substantial amendment requiring the grantee to provide a period of not less than 30 days during which affected citizens may review and comment on its implementation?

A. Displaced evacuees may avail themselves of the benefits of existing programs funded with CDBG funds. Given the unexpected nature of this situation, however, the jurisdiction's consolidated plan may not have included activities that address the needs and expenses of displaced evacuees whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A substantial amendment is required for changes if there is a change in the use of CDBG funds from one eligible activity to another. The criteria for a substantial amendment should be defined in the jurisdiction's consolidated plan and necessary actions will flow from a determination as to whether the proposed amendment is substantial or not under the definition in the plan.

In instances where a substantial amendment is required for activities related to Hurricane Katrina assistance efforts, the Department has waived the 30 day standard established through 24 CFR 91.105(c)(2) and instituted a minimum three (3) day comment period. The relief granted by this waiver will be available through November 30, 2005 to grantees solely for activities related to Hurricane Katrina assistance efforts. Communities exercising this waiver should so indicate in writing to HUD as soon as it is convenient.

Content Archived: November 29, 2012