By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2001 -- Mel Martinez, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, joined Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Sept. 24 to announce the government is instituting the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act to help those called to active duty.

Martinez said HUD has sent letters to all FHA-approved lenders advising them of their obligations under the act.  The act, passed to aid those called up in 1940 for World War II service, advises all lenders to reduce rates on mortgages to no more than 6 percent to all members of the military on active duty.

The act prohibits lenders from foreclosing against any military personnel during and immediately following their tour of active duty, Martinez said. It helps military renters by ensuring they cannot be evicted from their property. The act also allows military renters to terminate leases without penalty if doing so is in their own interests.

Rumsfeld called the effort an “innovative program to help military reservists who are called up.”

More than 35,000 reserve component service members will be called up under an order President Bush signed Sept. 14.  “They’re leaving their jobs and many of course take a hit in their paychecks,” Rumsfeld said. “This program is designed to ease their mortgage burden. I salute Secretary Mel Martinez and his HUD team for this effort. It’s a good one, it’s helpful and it’s going to be appreciated.”

Martinez said a toll-free number will start operation Sept.  25. Call (888) 297-8685 for more information or go to the HUD Web site at

The American Forces Information Service maintains more

detailed special discussions of Soldiers’ and Sailors’

Civil Relief Act provisions at Act Revision/


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 Visit the American Forces Information Service web special report on “Hispanic-American Heritage Month” at for a look at the many contributions of Hispanic Americans to the nation.


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