REALTORS® are sending emergency aid to disaster victims recovering from a series of deadly tornadoes that swept through the Midwest and South last week, tearing neighborhoods into shreds. As of Sunday, the tornado outbreak killed 32 across seven states.
The REALTORS® Relief Foundation announced Tuesday $1.6 million in grants to REALTOR® associations in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma. The RRF funds will provide housing-related assistance to disaster victims in those areas. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these tornadoes,” says RRF President Mike McGrew. “The devastation caused by natural disasters can be overwhelming, but we hope RRF grants will provide some much-needed assistance as these communities rebuild.”
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An EF3 tornado plowed through Little Rock, Ark., last Friday, causing catastrophic damage, city officials said. The storm brought wind gusts up to 165 mph and cut a path up to 25 miles long. RRF has awarded $1 million in grants to Arkansas REALTORS® to aid in recovery efforts. Another deadly tornado ripped through Mississippi on March 24, leaving at least 26 dead and leveling entire neighborhoods. “As REALTORS®, we understand the importance of community and the power of coming together to help those in need,” McGrew says.
RRF also awarded grants of $500,000 to Mississippi REALTORS®, $70,000 to Oklahoma’s Norman Board of REALTORS® and $40,000 to the Southwest Kansas Board of REALTORS®. State and local REALTOR® associations and brokerages also are rushing aid to disaster victims, such as through collection drives. For example, the Northeast Mississippi Board of REALTORS® has been collecting supplies, such as clothing, food and baby supplies, to support hard-hit Monroe County.
The Mississippi Association of REALTORS® said in a statement on Facebook: “The scale of damage to homes, businesses and entire communities is significant and will be felt for quite some time. Mississippians are resilient, though, and when times get tough, we come together to lift each other up.”
RRF has distributed more than $38 million in disaster relief since its inception in 2001. NAR collaborates with state and local REALTOR® associations to cover all administrative costs, so 100% of all funds collected are distributed directly to disaster victims.