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HUD to Aid Victims of Hawaiian Storms

HUD announced the implementation of federal disaster assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas of Hawaii affected by severe storms, flooding, and landslides during the period of December 5 and December 10, 2021. On February 15, President Biden issued a major disaster declaration for the City and County of Honolulu, and Maui County.

Federal funding, provided by FEMA, is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. 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 Federal Housing Administration (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 184A Indian Home Loan Guarantee program.
  • 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 daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100% financing, including closing costs.
  • 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 homes.
  • Sharing information on housing providers and HUD programs: The Department will share information with FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties, including Public Housing Agencies and Multi-Family owners. The Department will also connect FEMA and the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers.
  • Providing flexibility to Community Planning and Development Grantees: 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 can apply for needed administrative flexibility in response to natural disasters.
  • Providing flexibility to Public Housing Agencies: Public Housing Agencies can apply for needed waivers and flexibilities for disaster relief and recovery.
  • Ensuring HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are ready to assist: HUD-approved housing counseling agencies have counselors available to assist those impacted by natural disasters to determine assistance needs and available resources.
  • Assisting with housing discrimination: Following a disaster, HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is available to assist people who believe they have experienced housing discrimination.

This announcement follows the recent implementation of disaster relief for three states affected by recent natural disasters: Alaska, Tennessee, and Missouri. All states were hit with severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, mudslides, and/or tornadoes.

HUD also issued the 2020 CDBG-DR Notice in early February, a step taken by the Department to open access to more than $2 billion in federal funds to help communities recover and improve long-term resilience to disasters and future climate-related impacts. Efforts will provide community recovery to low-income residents, and ensure that mitigation remains central to disaster recovery.

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 [email protected]
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