August 17, 2011 (Jeff Alan)

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced an “unprecedented” pilot program that provides housing assistance to families affected by the catastrophic tornadoes in Joplin, MO, and central Alabama.

In this first of its kind program, HUD plans on selling nearly 90 “move-in ready” REO properties to public housing authorities in the affected areas at a discount price.

The public housing authorities will then make the properties available for lease or sale to any person displaced by the tornadoes within two months.

The REO properties in Alabama are available in the following counties:

Autauga, Calhoun, Elmore, Jefferson, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall and Tallapoosa

Due to Joplin’s close proximity to neighboring states, REO properties are being offered within a 20 mile radius of Joplin’s city limits. The states and counties that REO properties are being offered in are:

Kansas: Cherokee County

Missouri: Jasper and Newton Counties

Oklahoma: Ottawa County

“After witnessing first-hand the size and scope of the devastation in Alabama, I knew we must do more,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “For the first-time, HUD has designed a pilot program that will bring families affected by a significant disaster closer to stability by quickly providing them with an opportunity to purchase or lease a home. We hope to be able to use this draft purchase agreement as a model to assist other families displaced after a disaster.”

Families and individuals who have been displaced by the tornadoes in the affected areas and are interested in purchasing or leasing one of these properties, or needs more information on how to apply, can contact one of the local public housing authorities listed here.

Tags: tornado assistance, HUD, REO properties, Joplin, housing assistance, Alabama, public housing authorities, displaced families