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Freddie, HUD Offer a Hand to Irene Victims

""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ and ""HUD"":http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD recently stepped up home relief programs for eligible borrowers who saw their property and prized possessions wash away with the tidewaters of Hurricane Irene. The availability of federal relief will allow qualifying homeowners in distress to gain reprieve from late fees and penalties likely to result from delayed mortgage payments, avoid foreclosure and eviction from their homes, and take advantage of HUD insurance policies to revamp their residences.

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In a release dated Thursday, Freddie Mac announced that it had green-lighted relief options for companies servicing their mortgages. The decision follows a release made public Tuesday by HUD, which signed off on a federal disaster assistance package that frees up state grants for areas with considerable damage.

""Freddie Mac has authorized the nation's mortgage servicers to provide a full range of mortgage relief options to affected borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac,"" Anthony Renzi, the GSE's EVP of single-family business, operations, and technology, said in a ""statement"":http://freddiemac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=12329&item=59469. ""Forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year are among the options our servicers have been instructed to offer borrowers on a case-by-case basis.""

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The action by Freddie will help improve their lot by allowing homeowners to waive penalties in late mortgage payments for damaged homes, delay any existing processes for foreclosures and evictions, and scratch off the need to report delinquencies or forbearance issues.

With Freddie Mac servicing a significant share of loans that make up the $11-trillion mortgage market, the assistance is likely to reach a considerable number of homeowners across New England.

There are eligibility requirements: mortgage borrowers with loans backed by the GSE will receive assistance if their homes lie inside zones declared by the administration as Major Disaster Areas, and only then in areas in which President Barack Obama has unchained individual assistance programs for homeowners and households.

The helpful hand from Freddie follows a similar move by HUD, whose chief, Secretary Shaun Donovan, heralded disaster relief for counties across Virginia.

""Families who may have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available to begin the rebuilding process,"" Donovan said in a ""statement"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2011/HUDNo.11-202. ""Whether it's foreclosure relief for FHA-insured families or helping these counties to recover, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can.""

Among the array of options available to Americans in entitlement communities, HUD removed restrictions for Community Development Block Grants and HOME programs, said yes to a 90-day ban on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures for homeowners with loans backed by the ""Federal Housing Administration"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/fhahistory, and approved agency insurance policies, available under Section 203(h) programs, for disaster victims suffering from home loss or other extensive damage.

Thanks to HUD, homeowners with FHA loans in these disaster areas will be able to refinance their homes without taking out a new mortgage.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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