On October 7, the Miami Herald published an op-ed by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, highlighting the work HUD has done to help families recover from Hurricane Irma.
According to HUD, hundreds of men and women are working to ensure safe, affordable housing for those affected by the disaster.
Prior to Irma’s impact, many HUD employees volunteered to go to Florida to serve immediately as a partner to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and assist individuals and families in need of resources, according to the article.
Secretary Carson said he visited Florida to monitor HUD’s progress, talk with residents, and ensure HUD provides everything it can to support the rebuilding effort.
As part of the response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts, HUD’s primary job is to “use the best data available to ensure disaster recovery funding is targeted to the hardest hit areas.”
“We will put our knowledge, experience, and expertise to work in coordination with state and local authorities,” Secretary Carson said. “In the months and years ahead, HUD will play a central role in Florida’s integrated efforts to rebuild lives and communities.”
In addition, Secretary Carson said he is in touch with Gov. Rick Scott and his staff, as HUD is helping to locate vacancies to move vulnerable residents into safer housing.
“We are working closely with FEMA and shelters around the state to ensure they have the resources they need to serve displaced Floridians, and ultimately help these families find longer-term housing,” Secretary Carson said.
Secretary Carson continued to explain that HUD is also providing special mortgage relief through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). HUD has already granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures for FHA-insured properties in disaster-affected areas.
“We offer loan forbearance and loan modifications for borrowers struggling to make payments in disaster-affected areas,” he added.
Specific mortgage products for those impacted by disasters—as some homeowners whose properties were destroyed or damaged may be eligible for 100 percent financing through HUD's Section 203(h) program.
According to Secretary Carson, this will enable them to rebuild or buy another home. In addition, homeowners can use Section 203(k) FHA insurance to refinance an existing mortgage into a new mortgage that covers the cost of repairs.