by Rebecca Bradshaw
Thousands of families have been displaced, countless highways and schools closed, 13 lives lost, and over 60,600 homes and businesses have been severely damaged in the record level flooding that occurred just weeks ago in Southern Louisiana. The American Red Cross has declared the mid-August floods “likely the worst natural disaster in the United States since 2012’s Superstorm Sandy.”
Relief efforts have been pouring into the state from individuals and organizations such as the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF). The RRF has stepped up to the plate to provide funds and other assistance to the area. They have pledged to send up to $350,000 to aid Louisiana’s flood victims, many of whom were completely unprepared for the nearly two feet of rain that fell in just over 48 hours. In effect, this has caused the raising of water levels in six rivers. Over 20% of homeowners in the disaster area did not carry flood insurance, so this assistance is especially crucial.
RRF members from Louisiana and around the country have been on the front lines of the relief efforts. They have been providing aid in the form of gift cards, money, and even temporary office space to members of the Louisiana REALTORS® Association who lost their homes or businesses during the unprecedented event. The RRF has also begun dispersing funds to members of effected communities with damage to their homes.
Just days after the flooding, Norman Morris, CEO of Louisiana REALTORS®, posted a message of help and hope on the association’s website that lists available resources, calls to action, and donation information. Speaking of the floods and other disasters in Louisiana, including Hurricane Katrina, Morris stated: “The common thread every time these events occur is how we lift each other up, work together and come back stronger than ever before!”
Louisiana Realtors® have established a website providing all available disaster relief resources from within the state and on a national level. The listings include information on everything from shelters to how to apply for federal aid, and practical toolkits on topics such as what to do after experiencing a flood. The list of resources can be found at the Louisiana Realtors® website, Disaster Relief List of Resources.
As Southern Louisiana slowly recovers from the disaster, the need for assistance continues. Donations to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation can be made online on the National Association of Realtor’s website, realtor.org. All donations will go directly to housing disaster relief.
Established in 2001 by the National Association of Realtors in direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, the RRF has raised over $25 million in funding to provide housing assisted relief to victims of natural and manmade disasters nationwide. One hundred percent of monies donated to the charitable organization goes directly to benefit victims.
Sources: Realtor Mag, NPR, Louisiana Realtors, Reuters