The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  (HUD) announced Friday that it will speed up federal disaster assistance to the states of Iowa  and Nebraska  in order to provide support to homeowners and low-income renters impacted by the severe storms and flooding  that have impacted those regions.
This follows on President Trump's issuance of major disaster declarations in March for the counties of Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, and Woodbury in Iowa and Boone, Buffalo, Butler, Cass, Colfax, Custer, Dodge, Douglas, Knox, Nemaha, Richardson, Santee Indian Reservation, Sarpy, Saunders, Thurston, and Washington in Nebraska. The Midwestern U.S. states experienced major flooding in March 2019 along the Missouri River, with the floods having caused an estimated $2.9 billion in damages in Iowa and $1.3 billion in Nebraska.
HUD's disaster assistance will include foreclosure relief and other assistance to qualifying families living within the affected areas, including:
- Immediate Foreclosure Relief—HUD's automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages commenced for the Iowa counties covered under the Presidential declaration on the date of the declaration.
- 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 are facing the daunting 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 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.
- Making Information on Housing Providers and HUD Programs Available—The Department will share information with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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 the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers.
The topic of how the industry should prepare for and respond to disasters such as this one will be explored thoroughly at the upcoming Five Star Disaster Preparedness Symposium , to be hosted June 5-6, 2019, at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The Symposium is designed to provide an opportunity for mortgage industry leaders and executives to engage in critical conversations on diligence and preparedness, so the next time natural disaster strikes, the industry will be ready to lend the proper support. You can register for the Disaster Preparedness Symposium here .