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HUD Offering Assistance To Irma-Impacted Communities

David Goldman
Associated Press
Joseph Ross, left, cleans up debris from his damaged home with help from a neighbor in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Naples, Fla., Sept. 13, 2017.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is offering assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Irma.

The help ranges from foreclosure protection to infrastructure repair loans for counties included in President Donald Trump’s major disaster declaration, which includes the Northeast Florida region of the state.

HUD spokeswoman Gloria Shanahan said Monday, not only can the agency share a list of  affordable housing units with FEMA, it’s also offering relief for homeowners  who have Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages if they have damaged homes and no resources.

“Those people benefit right away by knowing they have a 90-day moratorium on foreclosure,” Shanahan said.

And those who lost homes to Irma can qualify for FHA insurance on a new mortgage, with no down payment required, through HUD’s Section 203(h) program.

Loans are also available to people rebuilding damaged homes through HUD's Section 203(k) program.

“You have your home, maybe it’s already paid for, but you need to make some significant  repairs to that so that’s an easy way to go to a lender and request this type of loan,” she said.

And HUD is also giving cities flexibility with some federal money including Community Development Block Grants. Jacksonville uses the money for anything from building more affordable housing units to mental health services.

Now cities can ask HUD to redirect millions of dollars budgeted for specific areas through an annual funding formula, to instead address critical needs including housing and services for disaster victims.

“Each community will decide what is the priority for them so that’s when they go to HUD and they say 'this funding assigned to this, I’m going to use it for that,' ” Shanahan said.

Local governments can also ask HUD for loans to fund rebuilding projects like housing or public facilities.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.