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Regional Spotlight: HUD Secretary Announces Disaster Assistance for Montana Storm Victims

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RISMEDIA, June 24, 2011—U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the State of Montana and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes following severe storms and flooding in April.

Last week, President Obama issued a disaster declaration for Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, McCone, Meagher, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, and Yellowstone Counties. The disaster declaration also includes, Crow, Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservations. The President’s declaration allows HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to certain families living in these counties.

HUD is:

• Offering the State of Montana and other entitlement 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 and communities the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster 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;

• Granting immediate foreclosure relief– HUD granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages;

• 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 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; and

• 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.

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