The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has implemented federal disaster relief for the state of Florida to assist state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas impacted by Hurricane Idalia beginning on August 27, 2023, and continuing.
President Joe Biden also issued a major disaster declaration to affected individuals in the Florida counties of Citrus, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, and Taylor. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
CoreLogic estimates that insured losses across southeastern U.S. due to Hurricane Idalia are at less than $2 billion, encompassing insured losses to residential and commercial properties from wind and storm surge flooding. Storm surge losses do not include impacts to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
“My thoughts are with those who lost or experienced damage to their homes,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD’s role in a disaster is to ensure that people and communities can recover and return home. HUD is committed to seeing Florida’s recovery through.”
CoreLogic also reports that hurricane-force winds may have affected about 75,000 homes in Florida and Georgia, with a majority of the affected structures in Florida near the point of landfall and along Hurricane Idalia’s path. Certain areas of southern Georgia also recorded Category 1-force winds. Despite lower levels of exposure concentration, significant wind-borne damage was expected at residential properties exposed to at least Category 1-force hurricane winds due to less-stringent building codes and the age of the homes. In Florida and Georgia, nearly 80% of the homes exposed to hurricane-force winds were built prior to 2003, which was before the implementation of modern building codes in the states.
Effective immediately, HUD is:
- Providing a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) as well as foreclosures of mortgages to Native American borrowers guaranteed under the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program. There is also a 90-day extension granted automatically for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. The moratorium and extension are effective as of the President’s disaster declaration date.
- Homeowners affected by the disaster should contact their mortgage or loan servicer immediately for assistance. Conventional mortgage holders may also be eligible for additional relief through their mortgage holder.
- Making mortgage insurance available: When homes are destroyed or damaged to an extent that required reconstruction or complete replacement, HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims. Borrowers from participating FHA approved lenders are eligible for 100% financing including closing costs.
- Making insurance available for both mortgage and home rehabilitation: HUD's Section 203(k) loan program also allows individuals to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. Homeowners can also finance the rehabilitation of their existing homes if damaged.
- Sharing information on housing providers and HUD programs: Information will be shared 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. For more information on applying for a waiver or suspension of program requirements, contact your local Community Planning and Development Program Office here.
- Providing flexibility to Public Housing Agencies: Public Housing Agencies can apply for needed waivers and flexibilities for disaster relief and recovery. For detailed information on applying for a waiver, click here for the latest Federal Register Disaster Relief Notice guidance. HUD also released PIH Notice 2021-34, which advises the public of HUD's expedited process for waivers and flexibilities from HUD regulatory and administrative requirements for various Public Housing and Voucher Programs. As a reminder, to be eligible to receive a disaster waiver, the PHA must be located in an active Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declaration area and submitted within four months of an MDD.
- Providing flexibility to Tribes: Tribes and their Tribally Designated Housing Entities can apply for needed administrative flexibility through regulatory waivers.
- 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: Housing discrimination sometimes occurs when people attempt to find and access housing following a disaster. HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is available to assist people who believe they have experienced housing discrimination.
HUD recently announced an overhaul of the agency’s disaster recovery efforts to better serve communities who face the direct impacts of weather-related disasters. Based on the increasing number of disasters and the increasingly important role that HUD is playing in federal government’s preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, the Department established the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, the Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR) within the Office of Community Planning and Development and has added of dozens of new HUD staff members to help expedite recovery processes. These steps will streamline the agency’s disaster recovery and resilience work by increasing coordination, reducing bureaucracy, and increasing capacity to get recovery funding to communities more quickly by facilitating collaborative, transparent disaster recovery planning with communities earlier in the process.