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As families return to their Southern California neighborhoods in the wake of this week’s wildfires, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is deploying trained disaster recovery teams to selected shelters to help rapidly identify transitional housing for displaced families. By implementing the National Housing Locator (NHL), an interactive database combining federal housing resources and commercial apartment locators, HUD is working with families who need help finding rental housing. HUD is also offering foreclosure relief, making Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance available for new mortgages and home rebuilding, and providing financial resources to Tribal communities.

HUD's National Housing Locator

 -   HUD field office staff is already on site, helping to establish housing assistance points in designated shelters. HUD disaster recovery teams will be deployed in selected shelters to help locate available housing resources that can significantly expedite the recovery process. These trained staff members will offer displaced families critical housing information through HUD's National Housing Locator.
 -   The NHL combines federal housing resources with several commercial apartment locators and housing websites to offer one platform that allows housing agency personnel and emergency responders immediate accessibility to available rental housing resources nationwide. All displaced families are eligible to use the NHL, regardless of income. More than 15,000 units are available in the Southern California, Nevada and Arizona area at this time.

 -   Using housing information from various Internet and Government Data providers, such as SocialServ.Com, Apartments.Com, HomeSales.Gov, Rentlinx.Com, and other sites, the NHL allows users to search for available housing. Search criteria include:
 -   the desired location;
 -   by city, zip code;
 -   price range;
 -   acceptance of pets;
 -   acceptance of housing vouchers;
 -   handicap accessibility;
 -   assisted and elderly accommodations; and
 -   number of bedrooms.

 -   Once the criteria are set, a rapid online search is conducted nationwide with designated partners, and the information about available housing is presented in a report format. In most cases, the housing photos and contact information about the rental facility are also provided.

 -   Trained HUD staff will be available at Disaster Relief Centers in the following Southern California communities to assist families who are in need of housing: San Bernardino, Rancho Bernardo, Fallbrook, Ramona, and Rancho San Diego.
 -   Earlier this month, HUD and the American Red Cross also signed an agreement that will allow HUD staff to gain access to Red Cross shelters in the earliest stages of a Presidentially declared disaster. For the first time, HUD will be able to respond to the immediate housing needs of certain eligible HUD-assisted families, the elderly and other special need persons environment by establishing the NHL and offering other support services in Red Cross shelters.

Relief For Rebuilding Homes And Lives

 -   By signing a major disaster declaration for several Southern California counties impacted by the wildfires, President Bush has made an array of other HUD-sponsored services available to the State and certain eligible displaced families as they seek to recover from their losses. These programs include:
 -   Granting immediate foreclosure relief - HUD has issued a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages.

 -   Offering California communities the ability to re-allocate existing federal resources toward disaster relief - HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs give the State the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for fire victims. HUD is currently contacting State and local officials to explore streamlining the Department's CDBG and HOME programs in order to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing.

 -   Making mortgage insurance available - HUD's Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers are eligible for 100 percent financing of the local FHA loan limit, 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.

 -   Offering Section 108 loan guarantee assistance - HUD will offer state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation, economic development and repair of public infrastructure.

Helping Tribal Communities Repair Their Homes

  • Nearly 100 homes have been lost to the raging fires at four Indian reservations in Southern California. HUD has set aside $5.2 million to help these Federally recognized tribes restore their communities and repair their homes.
  • The destroyed homes are at four California reservations, including Rincon, La Jolla, and Barona. Other reservations that have been evacuated are Pauma, Pala, Sycuan, Jamul and Viejas.

  • The funding available to these tribes is available through three HUD Native American programs: Indian Housing Block Grants, Indian Community Development Block Grants, and Section 184 Loan Guarantees

  • HUD's Southwest Office of Native American Programs is in close contact with other federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs and local entities to stay apprised of the situation as it relates to Indian housing.
Content current as of 2 November 2007   Follow this link to go  Back to top   
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