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Arkansas Tornado Survivors to Receive Disaster Assistance

HUD has announced the implementation of federal disaster assistance for areas in Arkansas affected by severe storms and tornadoes from December 10-11, 2021.

President Biden issued a major disaster declaration on December 24 to make federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Craighead, Jackson, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Woodruff. Federal funding, provided by FEMA, is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the affected counties in Arkansas.

Effective immediately, HUD is providing immediate foreclosure relief in counties covered by the major disaster declaration. HUD's automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured home mortgages commenced on the date of the Presidential major disaster declaration, and foreclosures of mortgages to Native American borrowers guaranteed under the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program.

In addition to making mortgage insurance available, HUD's Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary, and they are facing the formidable task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs.

Making insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation, HUD's Section 203(k) loan program allows 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 enables homeowners who have damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home.

The Department will share information with FEMA and the state on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties. This includes Public Housing Agencies and Multi-Family owners. The Department will also connect FEMA and state officials to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers.

Recipients of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons With HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) Program, Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program, HOME Program, and Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Program funds may apply for needed administrative flexibility in response to natural disasters. Providing flexibility to Community Planning and Development Grantees are among the features applicable to Public Housing Agencies.

PHA’s can apply for needed administrative flexibility through disaster waivers. The Department also released PIH Notice 2021-34, which granted administrative flexibilities to waive or establish alternative requirements for numerous statutory and regulatory requirements for various Public Housing Programs. To be eligible to receive a disaster waiver, the PHA must be located in an active Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declaration (MDD) area and submit a waiver within four months of a disaster.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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