In the past four weeks, the people of Florida have demonstrated their spirit is far tougher than any hurricane, including Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded.
Our fellow Americans in the Sunshine State are standing tall, exhibiting their resolve to recover, rebuild, and thrive in the wake of nature’s recent wrath. But they are not alone. They have backup.
At the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), hundreds of men and women are working to ensure safe, affordable housing for those affected by the disaster.
We are going to give them an ear in Miami, the Florida Keys, and all the affected areas, and a voice in Washington.
Before Irma made landfall, 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 our resources.
I will be visiting Florida in the coming weeks to monitor our progress, talk with residents, and ensure HUD is providing everything we can to support the rebuilding effort.
This is personal for us, too.
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. In the months and years ahead, HUD will play a central role in Florida’s integrated efforts to rebuild lives and communities.
I am in touch with Gov. Rick Scott and his staff, and we are currently 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.
We are 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.
In addition, we offer loan forbearance and loan modifications for borrowers struggling to make payments in disaster-affected areas.
We also make available specific mortgage products for those impacted by disasters. Some homeowners whose properties were destroyed or damaged may be eligible for 100 percent financing through HUD's Section 203(h) program.
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.
You can learn more about these programs and services on HUD's website.
HUD is part of the process of recovery, providing the information and commitment, now and in the years to come.