The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced the implementation of federal disaster assistance, including a new package of waivers offering regulatory and administrative relief, to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in areas of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Fiona beginning on September 17, 2022, and continuing.
As Puerto Rico endures another disastrous hurricane, the Biden-Harris Administration is reaffirming its pledge to support affected communities as they struggle to recover from compounding disasters and the effects of climate change. On September 21, President Biden issued a major disaster declaration for municipalities in Puerto Rico.
Effective immediately, HUD is:
- Issuing waivers that offer flexibility and relief to Commonwealth and local partners – HUD has issued a new package of twenty-nine regulatory and administrative waiversaimed at helping Puerto Rico communities accelerate their recovery from Hurricane Fiona. This represents one of the largest collections of regulatory and administrative waivers ever issued by the Department at one time.
The regulatory and administrative relief announced today covers the following HUD programs: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. To expedite the use of these funds, HUD’s state and local partners can now access a waiver through a simplified notification process. HUD’s flexibilities include:
- Hurricane Fiona caused extensive damage and destruction to a large number of housing units. To expedite the rebuilding process, HUD is suspending normal rules to enable CDBG grantees to replace affordable housing units that were lost as a result of the hurricane and flooding with new construction.
- HUD recognizes that affected citizens may require additional assistance. This flexibility will temporarily allow CDBG grantees to pay for additional support services for individuals and families affected by the remnants of the hurricane. Services could include, but not be limited to, the provision of food and bottled water, emergency shelter, case management and related services to help residents in declared-disaster areas until long-term recovery resources become available.
- HUD is also adding flexibilities that permit emergency grant payments for items such as food, clothing, housing (rent or mortgage), or utilities for up to six consecutive months.For more information on applying for a waiver or suspension of program requirements, contact your local Community Planning and Development Program Office here.
- Providing immediate foreclosure relief in counties covered by the major disaster declaration – HUD’s automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages commenced on the date of the Presidential major disaster declaration, and foreclosures of mortgages to Native American borrowers guaranteed under the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program; 90-day extensions were also automatically granted for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages commencing from the date of the Presidential major disaster declaration. For assistance, contact your mortgage servicer immediately. Your mortgage servicer, also known as your loan servicer, is the company to which you send your monthly mortgage payments.
Homeowners with a conventional mortgage are also strongly encouraged to contact their mortgage servicer for further information, and to see if you are eligible for relief. For additional information, contact FHA’s Resource Center at 1-800-304-9320.
- Making mortgage insurance available – HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary, and they 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 mortgage and home rehabilitation – HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program enables individuals 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 homes.
- Sharing 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, including 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.
- Providing flexibility to Public Housing Agencies – Public Housing Agencies can apply for needed waivers and flexibilities for disaster relief and recovery. For detailed information on applying for a waiver, click here for the latest Federal Register Disaster Relief Notice guidance. The Department also released PIH Notice 2022-09, which advises the public of HUD’s streamlined process for waivers and flexibilities from HUD regulatory and administrative requirements for various Public Housing and Voucher Programs. As a reminder, to be eligible to receive a disaster waiver, the PHA must be located in an active Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declaration area and submitted within four months of the declaration.
- Ensuring HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are ready to assist – HUD-approved housing counseling agencies have counselors available to assist those impacted by natural disasters to determine assistance needs and available resources. Find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. You do not have to have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. There is never a fee for foreclosure prevention counseling.
- Assisting with housing discrimination – Housing discrimination sometimes occurs when people attempt to find and access housing following a disaster. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is available to assist people who believe they have experienced housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, you should file a fair housing complaint with HUD. You can file a complaint by calling HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. Materials and assistance are available in Spanish. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339. You should file a complaint with HUD as soon as possible. HUD may not be able to help you if your complaint is filed more than one year after the last discriminatory act.
Federal funding, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.