HUD to Issue Guidance on Chinese Drywall Aid

The federal government will soon be issuing guidelines that could open up an avenue of financial aid to Chinese drywall victims.

It is estimated that it could cost as much as $100,000 to remediate a home with Chinese drywall, as doing so likely requires gutting a building to its bare studs. Many victims have had to move out of their homes, and face a double financial burden of paying rent and mortgage. Lawmakers and advocates for Chinese drywall victims have been trying to devise ways to get financial help to homeowners.

According to report in The Palm Beach Post, federal aid to Chinese drywall homeowners could come from the Community Development Block Grant program, which is aimed at helping communities avoid blight. According to a letter sent by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan to Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), guidance on how Chinese drywall victims can access such funding will be available soon.

“The guidance will provide details about the eligible activities relating to drywall remediation, and the ways in which (block grant) funds can be used to benefit families with various income levels,” Donavan wrote.

HUD had previously suggested that Chinese drywall homeowners could be eligible for such funding, but so far, people who have applied for the money have had mixed results, mostly owing to confusion about eligibility requirements.

Other efforts are also ongoing to get some financial aid to Chinese drywall homeowners. Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H. Con. Res. 197, which encourages mortgage lenders to provide temporary forbearance to Chinese drywall victims forced out of their homes so that they can avoid foreclosure. On November 10, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution.

The Internal Revenue Service has also said that some homeowners may be able to take a casualty-loss deduction on their federal taxes for Chinese drywall damage.

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