Disaster declaration for Hennepin, Anoka counties triggers housing help

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 9, 2011 - 10:34 PM

The assistance is for federally guaranteed homes, but a Minneapolis official cautioned that areas of the city hit hard by the May 22 tornado tend to have fewer of them.

The federal disaster declaration for Hennepin and Anoka counties resulting from a May 22 tornado will trigger a range of federal housing assistance, including limited foreclosure relief.

The package includes greater flexibility in shifting the use of shrinking federal block grants and federal mortgage insurance for rebuilding and rehab loans from participating lenders. The package also includes loans to state and federal governments for housing rehab, economic development and repair of public facilities.

Pending further analysis, Tom Streitz, the city's housing development director, said that the aid may be of limited utility because the North Side neighborhoods hardest hit tend to use federally insured loans less than other metro areas. Plus, the city already is weathering a cut of more than 16 percent in its federal community development block grant.

But Streitz said the 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of federally insured mortgages could be significant to some borrowers in an area that was hit the first and worst in the state by foreclosures. The delay applies to new foreclosures and those already in process, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The area was described in the state's application for disaster relief as having a high proportion of rental property, multiple-family homes and federal rental subsidies.

Under a special mortgage insurance program, 100 percent financing is available for rebuilding where single-family detached homes or condominium units were destroyed or damaged to the point of needing to be replaced, the department said. Insurance for rehab of one- to four-unit property is also available.

More information is available from HUD at www.startribune.com/a478.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

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