After Hurricane Ian struck South Florida in late September, Eric Stegemann, CEO of Tribus, which develops custom real estate brokerage websites, saw a post by Jeff White, director of MLS at Royal Palm Coast REALTOR® Association. White wanted to connect with other MLS and association staff on ideas to help members and the public when dealing with natural disasters.
Stegemann, who is based in Destin, quickly typed back, “Our Solid Earth division at Tribus would be happy to help spin something up for you to show housing available to those displaced. Let us know how we can help.”
That simple exchange would turn into hurricanehomes.org, an online database of rental homes that reached more than 17,000 listings as of December 2022. Naples Area Board of REALTORS® and Bonita Springs-Estero REALTORS® joined with Royal Palm Coast to populate the site created by Tribus and Solid Earth. At its highest point, 14,000 unique families accessed the site and reviewed 68,000 property pages in just one week.
Ad revenue from the website is donated to 501(c)(3) organizations such a Florida Disaster Fund and Florida Realtors Disaster Relief Fund. Meanwhile, Tribus is developing other databases for disasters such as wildfires and earthquakes, plus a disaster playbook for REALTOR® associations on how to work with clients in the path of a natural disaster.