126.96.36.199 State Assistance for Homeowners in Natural Disaster Areas
After past disasters, states have used HUD funds to develop new programs to aid victims. Immediately after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, HUD announced that it had redirected resources to the impacted regions.115 It is likely that affected states will develop specific grant and aid programs targeted at this population.116
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the state of Louisiana used federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster funds to assist affected homeowners. Under the state’s plan, eligible homeowners received a one-time grant payment of up to $150,000 for damage to the home not covered by property insurance, FEMA grants, or other federal, state, or local government programs. In exchange, homeowners were required to agree to covenants and restrictions running with and encumbering the property. The covenants include requirements that the property be rebuilt and repaired according to housing codes and ordinances, as well as requirements regarding the elevation of the building in compliance with FEMA standards and homeowner occupation of the property for three years.117
Mississippi had a similar program. The state used CDBG funds to assist homeowners whose primary residence suffered flood damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi Development Authority permitted lenders to reduce the amount homeowners received by any past-due installments on the mortgage or taxes owed.118
115 See HUD Exchange, OHC Resources for Housing Counseling Agencies Dealing with the Impact of Hurricane Irma (Sept. 12, 2017), available at https://www.hudexchange.info; Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev., HUD Announces Disaster Assistance for Victims of Hurricane Harvey, HUD No. 17-068 (Aug. 28, 2017), available at https://www.hud.gov.
116 HUD provides states with CBDG Disaster Recovery Assistance grants to help states supplement recovery assistance provided by other federal programs like FEMA. States may use these funds to provide relief to homeowners.
117 More information about the Road Home program is available at https://www.road2la.org/. The program is currently focused on compliance and monitoring of existing participants.
118 Under the Mississippi program, eligible homeowners whose homes were located outside a FEMA designated 100-year flood zone were eligible to receive a one-time grant payment of up to $150,000 for flood damage not covered by property insurance or FEMA grants. In exchange for the grant payment, homeowners were required to agree to covenants on their property that required compliance with building codes, elevation of the building, and flood insurance. More information about the program is available in the Mississippi Development Authority’s Homeowner Assistance Program Partial Action Plan, available at https://archives.hud.gov and Homeowner Asstance Program Amended Guidelines, available at http://sos.ms.gov.