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Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are reminding loan servicers that homeowners affected by wildfires in Hawaii may be eligible for up to 12 months of forbearance, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development has instituted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration mortgages in the affected areas.
Fannie Mae has authorized mortgage servicers to offer up to 90 days of forbearance to homeowners they believe were affected, even if they haven’t been able to establish contact with them.
“Once feasible, we encourage homeowners facing hardship due to the wildfires to contact their mortgage servicer to discuss forbearance options as soon as possible,” Fannie Mae Chief Credit Officer Cyndi Danko said in a statement.
At least 99 people have been confirmed dead and more than 2,200 structures were destroyed in the wildfire that broke out on Aug. 8, with the historic community of Lahaina in western Maui among the locations hardest hit, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told CNN Monday.
HUD also advised homeowners affected by the disaster to contact their mortgage or loan servicer for assistance. FHA homeowners can call the FHA Resource Center at 800-304-9320 for additional information or visit the FHA Disaster Relief site.
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are ready to help those impacted by natural disasters to obtain assistance by calling 800-569-4287. Homeowners do not have to have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, which do not charge fees for foreclosure prevention counseling.
Fannie Mae offers disaster recovery counseling from HUD-approved housing counselors at Money Management International by dialing 855-437-3243 or by requesting an appointment through Fannie Mae’s website.
Freddie Mac provides information on recovering from a natural disaster, including frequently asked questions related to disaster and mortgage relief, online at My Home by Freddie Mac.
Once they’re back on their feet and are able to exit forbearance, Freddie Mac said homeowners can get current on their mortgages by making a lump sum payment. Or they can request a repayment plan that allows them to pay a little more each month to make up for missed payments, or defer missed payments to the end of their mortgage term without incurring extra interest charges or penalties.
“Once out of harm’s way, Freddie Mac and our partners stand ready to provide immediate mortgage relief to individuals and families impacted by these terrible wildfires,” Freddie Mac’s Bill Maguire said, in a statement.
HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program can help victims finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. Homeowners can also finance the rehabilitation of their existing homes if damaged.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing financial assistance and direct services to individuals and households that’s available through staff who are visiting American Red Cross shelters, or by visiting disasterassistance.gov, by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or using the FEMA mobile app.
FEMA is seeking to dispel rumors and assure residents that the agency will not confiscate their property if it’s deemed unlivable.
“FEMA cannot seize your property or land,” the agency said on a “rumor control” landing page. “Applying for disaster assistance does not grant FEMA or the federal government authority or ownership of your property or land.”
The Hawai’i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) has launched a fire relief housing program to connect Maui residents affected by the recent wildfires with property owners who can provide rooms, houses and other temporary accommodations.
Property owners can make housing available and displaced residents can apply for help on the Hawai’i Fire Relief Housing Program landing page, or by calling 808-587-0469 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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