The federal government continues to focus on the lives and safety of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. While the coordinated response continues, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other federal, state, local, and tribal partners, are beginning to direct efforts toward recovery, including housing survivors displaced by the disaster through the state-led disaster housing task force.
HUD is the lead federal coordinating agency for long-term disaster-related housing needs resulting from Hurricane Harvey. Federal partners are working closely with the Texas state-led housing task force, as well as other state, local, tribal and voluntary agencies, to meet the need for quality affordable rental homes. They’re also focused on identifying strategies to strengthen the housing market, building inclusive and sustainable communities, and integrating disaster mitigation measures into community design and development, to reduce future damages.
HUD is primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Justice, FEMA and other federal departments, agencies and national organizations. Below is a summary of the short-term, intermediate and long-term efforts already underway:
Short-term Housing Activities
- For those who are eligible for FEMA assistance, FEMA transitional housing assistance provides lodging to displaced survivors who need a place immediately. FEMA pays the hotel/motel directly for this assistance.
- Local communities, the American Red Cross, and other voluntary and faith-based agencies are providing emergency shelter to those displaced by the storm and subsequent flooding.
- AmeriCorps and other voluntary and faith-based organizations are helping to clean out flood-damage to homes.
- HUD is immediately assisting those displaced from public housing and multifamily subsidized rental units. Immediate foreclosure relief may also be available for Texas residents. HUD is granting a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages.
Intermediate and Long-Term Housing Activities
HUD’s giving communities in Presidentially-declared disaster areas, the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars in annual CDBG and HOME formula funding to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster survivors. In addition, HUD is:
- Making mortgage insurance available: HUD 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 may be eligible for 100 percent financing;
- 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.
- FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program provides financial assistance in the form of grants to survivors with uninsured or under-insured flood related losses. To-date, more than 176,000 individuals and households have been approved for more than $141 million in assistance. Of that amount, $50 million is approved for housing assistance, such as rental assistance. Survivors may use the rental assistance to obtain temporary housing such as a house, apartment, hotel, motel, or other readily-available dwelling for rent by the public.
- As part of FEMA’s comprehensive approach to meet the post-disaster intermediate housing needs caused by Hurricane Harvey, FEMA is considering all available housing options for survivors. FEMA is working with federal, state and local partners to assess the temporary housing needs and the best options to meet those needs.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans are available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. As of September 1, 2017, the SBA has received 2,118 disaster loan applications, primarily for homes. The SBA has fielded 5,221 calls and completed 451 property damage inspections.
- Insurance proceeds help insured homeowners and renters to repair hurricane-damaged, or flood-damaged property more quickly. The National Flood Insurance Program is authorizing advance payments of certain NFIP claims to expedite recovery. Call your insurance agent to find out more or to file a flood insurance claim under the NFIP.
A variety of housing options will continue to be considered to ensure disaster survivors with housing needs receive assistance to help their way to recovery. For additional information about recovery resources in states affected by Hurricane Harvey, visit www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey.