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HUD to make mortgage payments for disaster victims

Offers up to 12 months' help to those with FHA-insured loans

Up to 20,000 families with FHA-insured loans displaced by Hurricane Katrina and other disasters can have their mortgage payments covered for up to a year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD said today. The agency's $200 million initiative is designed to rebuild lives and communities, HUD said in a statement today. 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, according to HUD. The assistance, dubbed the Mortgage Assistance Initiative, will be available not only to qualifying homeowners who are in default, HUD's current practice, but will make advance mortgage payments on behalf of borrowers for up to 12 months. "These families have been devastated. Not only are they living far from home right now, but many have lost their source of income," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson in a statement. "We want to help end that hope...

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