The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified 5,100 of its foreclosed properties nationwide that can be used to shelter victims of Hurricane Katrina.The VA is currently working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other organizations to house as many displaced persons as possible, according to Keith Pedigo, director of the VA loan guarantee program. "At this point, we are in the very early stages of identifying the people that we might be able to accommodate," Mr. Pedigo said. The VA also has 300 foreclosed properties in the states hit hardest by Katrina, but the department said it suspects that many were damaged in the hurricane and that it will be a while before inspectors can get in to make an assessment. Like the Federal Housing Administration, the VA has established a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures in the designated disaster areas and is urging lenders to exercise forbearance on VA loans. The VA has 116,000 guaranteed loans in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama totaling $9.4 billion. The FHA has 203,000 insured loans totaling $13.5 billion in the three Gulf states.

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