Hurricane Ida made landfall along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power and depriving many REALTORS® of homes, offices, and other necessities. But the destruction didn’t end there: Weakened to a tropical storm, Ida dropped record amounts of rainfall on the East Coast, causing deadly, catastrophic floods.
REALTOR® associations in both areas responded quickly to help members begin the recovery process. In Louisiana, the Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes south of New Orleans were hit hardest; many areas were expected to be without power for a full month. In addition, many homes will require extensive repairs and mold remediation following the storm and flooding.
Louisiana REALTORS® partnered with NAR’s REALTORS® Relief Foundation to help families with interim financial assistance. NAR dedicated $400,000 to Louisiana relief efforts, and LR is adding $1,000 to $1,500 on top of approved awards to help recipients get back on their feet quickly.
Louisiana REALTORS® also helped deliver multiple trailer loads of essential supplies such as tarps, mops, garbage bags, and cleaning supplies to North Shore, New Orleans, and Bayou communities, and served hot meals to nearly 2,000 residents. “We coordinate with the local associations and try to be strategic,” says CEO Norman Morris.
“Every storm is different, and we try to plan ahead,” he adds. “This storm did more destruction to infrastructure than Katrina. There are REALTORS® and members who don’t have anything to go back to right now. Their structures are uninhabitable, and there are no sales. RRF dollars are critical, and we have one application, whether it’s NAR or the state fund paying.
“REALTORS® are resilient, and RRF is a partnership that gets us what we need when things are bad,” Morris says. “It’s a team effort to get through this difficult time. We’re proud to be a part of a national organization and help our members get through this.”
In New Jersey, six counties were declared major disaster areas after Ida spawned tornadoes and widespread flooding. “New Jersey is no stranger to strong storms, but Tropical Storm Ida left a path of destruction most of the state had not seen since Superstorm Sandy,” says Teresa M. Tilton, RCE, AHWD, director of professional services for New Jersey REALTORS®.
After conducting safety calls to local associations, NJR submitted an application for disaster relief assistance to RRF as well as a Voluntary Cooperative Program Agreement, winning approval for housing-related assistance. “We are so grateful for the quick and generous support of the RRF for New Jerseyans,” Tilton says.
“Let this serve as a reminder to have a disaster plan so you can act quickly and effectively,” she adds. “Spread the word about the REALTORS® Relief Foundation. Ask for donations. We need to ensure that RRF can continue to respond to disasters as quickly and effectively as possible.”