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HUD Assists Florida Victims of Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian has continued its path of destruction, after leaving an estimated $22 billion and $32 billion in wind losses for residential and commercial properties in Florida alone, while insured storm surge losses in Florida are expected to be an additional $6 billion to $15 billion, according to CoreLogic. USA Today reported that at least 68 people have been confirmed dead following the storm, with current totals of 61 casualties in Florida, four in North Carolina, and three in Cuba.

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 for areas affected by Hurricane Ian. On September 29, 2022, President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration for the counties of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota.

All 67 counties along with the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are eligible for debris removal, public assistance, direct federal assistance, at 100% of the total costs for a period of 30 days. Statewide there is also federal funding available for hazard mitigation on a cost-sharing basis.

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 (HECMs). The moratorium and extension are effective as of the President’s disaster declaration date.
  • 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.
  • 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 (PHAs): Agencies can apply for needed waivers and flexibilities for disaster relief and recovery.
  • 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.

In addition to the measures HUD has taken to protect Florida homeowners impacted by Hurricane Ian, HUD has also implemented federal disaster assistance to the State of Alaska to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by a severe storm, flooding, and landslides from September 15-20, 2022. On September 23, 2022, President Biden issued a major disaster declaration for affected individuals in Regional Educational Attendance Areas of Bering Strait, Kashunamiut, Lower Kuskokwim, and Lower Yukon. On September 29, 2022, President Biden made additional disaster assistance available to the State of Alaska by authorizing an increase in the level of federal funding for emergency protective measures.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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