A Sandy Silver Lining: Relief For Low-Income Renters and Foreclosure Assistance for Homeowners

nyc cars flooding A Sandy Silver Lining: Relief For Low Income Renters and Foreclosure Assistance for Homeowners

Returning home will take time. (Sandrarose.com)

While many New Yorkers are beginning to return to some semblance of their pre-Sandy routines, the scores of residents who remain displaced in the days to weeks and come will doubtless find it more difficult.

Fortunately, the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Developement’s has announced that it will speed assistance for low-income renters forced from their homes and foreclosure relief for residents in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk and Queens counties.

“Families who may have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available to begin the rebuilding process,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a statement. “Whether it’s foreclosure relief for families with FHA-insured loans or helping these counties to recover, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can.”

Available assistance and changes include (from the release):

Offering the State of New York 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 opportunities to use 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.

Information on housing providers and HUD programs -The Department will share information with FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties.  This includes Public Housing Agencies and Multi-Family owners.  The Department will also connect FEMA and the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers.

kvelsey@observer.com