U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced disaster assistance to help recent storm victims in Tennessee and Alabama.

He announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will provide federal disaster assistance and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes by the severe storms and flooding.

The move follows President Obama’s disaster declaration for four Tennessee counties—Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman, and Williamson. A similar move was made for DeKalb and Marshall counties in Alabama.

The declarations allow HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to people in those areas.

HUD said it is taking a number of steps, including:

  • Offering the states of Tennessee and Alabama the ability to reallocate existing federal resources toward disaster relief—HUD’s Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs give the states the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for flood victims;
  • 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 Sec. 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are facing the 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 Sec. 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 Sec. 108 loan guarantee assistance—HUD will offer state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation, economic development, and repair of public infrastructure.