Congressman Ted Poe announced today that help is on the way for families displaced by Rita. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will make mortgage payments for up to one year for disaster victims with FHA-insured mortgages who want to start living in their homes again.

To be eligible for this mortgage assistance, families must have homes that are repairable and located in a presidentially declared disaster area that is designated for individual assistance. HUD will not only make mortgage payments for qualifying homeowners who are in default, its current practice, but will make advance mortgage payments on behalf of borrowers for up to 12 months.

This is great news for the families of Southeast Texas whose homes were devastated by Hurricane Ritas wrath. Poe said. I commend Secretary Jackson for making this decision. It will help many Southeast Texans get back to their homes and start putting the pieces of their lives back together.

The relief will enable FHA borrowers in the impacted areas to retain homeownership as they concentrate on repairing their homes and finding jobs. Additionally, it will assist FHA lenders and protect communities by encouraging homeowners not to abandon damaged properties. After the mortgage assistance period, the borrower will resume making normal mortgage payments. The payment on the borrower's behalf will be secured by a second mortgage that carries no interest rate and is repaid to HUD upon payment-in-full of the first mortgage.

This assistance is available to FHA homeowners who: Have a property that is damaged by the hurricanes but can be rebuilt given adequate time; have access to funds from insurance proceeds, loans or personal resources to complete the repairs; and, are currently employed or are very likely to return to work within a short period of time.

FHA-insured families in disaster areas whose houses are not damaged, but have lost their source of income as a result of the hurricanes, will also be eligible for this mortgage relief. These borrowers must be able to demonstrate that their primary source of employment was located in an area designated for individual assistance, that they suffered a reduction in income that makes them unable to pay their mortgage and that they are likely to be reemployed within a reasonable period of time.

These requirements will remain in effect for an eighteen-month period unless extended or rescinded by the Department. It is estimated that up to 20,000 families could benefit by this action, in which case the outlay by HUD would be approximately $200 million.

For more information, please visit HUD website,

FHA Homebuyers can also contact their lender or HUDs National Servicing Center at: 1-888-297-8685.