Real estate agents and brokers play an important role in their communities. They help shape their communities in a very direct way and are active participants in city development. When disasters threaten those communities, real estate professionals are often among the first to step up and lend a helping hand.
Never is the dedication of real estate professionals more evident than in the aftermath of tragedies like Hurricane Harvey. Houston as a whole has been a shining example of unity and selflessness in a time of real need. As soon as the storm passed rescue efforts began. Hundreds of Texas real estate professionals have been among the volunteers that are wading through flood waters, handing out supplies and cleaning up the mess.
Although their businesses were heavily impacted, the first thing many Houston agents worried about was how they could help their community recover. Here’s some of the ways you can help Texas real estate agents aid in the recovery.
NAR, TAR and HAR Working Together
The National Association of Realtors (NAR), Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) and Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) have all stepped up to help out in big ways. The organizations are working together to provide housing assistance to people who have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey.
Grant funds from NAR’s Realtor Relief Foundation are being used to provide housing to those who can’t return home, which is fitting given that the associations work daily to help people find homes. TAR is helping NAR identify where their support can do the most good. Agents can also apply for assistance or make a donation at TAR’s website texasrealestate.com .
HAR recently launched their Realtors Helping Houston Texas initiative. You can visit their Facebook page to learn more about donation drop-off points and volunteer opportunities.
Keller Williams’ Massive Organization of Supplies and Volunteers
Keller Williams has made philanthropy part of its business model with KW Cares, a branch of the company that’s focused on giving back. The company was quick to react after Hurricane Harvey, gathering together three 18-wheelers full of supplies and upwards of 1,000 volunteers that worked over the Labor Day weekend. Keller Williams also secured three warehouses that will serve as staging sites during the long recovery ahead.
People and agents around the country can help their efforts by donating at kwrelief.org and indicating that the donation is to support the Hurricane Harvey victims.
Coldwell Banker Fundraiser
Coldwell Banker is using its brand recognition to raise awareness. The national brokerage held a fundraiser in conjunction with the American Red Cross to collect donations and encourage people to sign up as volunteers for the clean up. A local Coldwell Banker team from the Houston area has also initiated the CBHarper Texas Relief Fund . Learn how you can help and where to make donations on the fund’s Facebook page.
Realogy Donation Match
To encourage more donations for the Hurricane Harvey relief, the Realogy Charitable Foundation pledged to match up to $50,000 given to the Red Cross. They quickly reached that goal and upped it to $75,000. The Realogy Charitable Foundation is continuing its fundraiser by collecting online donations at events.org/hurricane .
Re/Max Online Information Base
In addition to pledging $50,000 to the Red Cross for the recovery effort, the first thing Re/Max did was reach out to their 2,600+ agents working in the impacted areas. An online information base was set up to help those affected by the storm find assistance and support. While helping agents get the aid they need, Re/Max opened a number of its offices to serve as donation drop-offs. They are specifically focusing on food donations that will be delivered to affected areas with the help of the Storm Warriors organization.
Houston Realtor to the Rescue
George Huntoon of EXP Realty in Houston will inspire us all to do more. When Harvey hit George, a former marine, didn’t hesitate to immediately help. After his family was safely away from the flood waters, George took his 16’ fishing boat and began rescuing dozens of stranded neighbors who were in dire need.
As the water surged George pressed on, capturing bits here and there on his phone. He couldn’t make calls but he was able to make posts on Facebook so people knew his whereabouts. The videos and images now serve as a record of how quickly a natural disaster can devastate an area and how the kindness of others can overcome tragedy.