The flooding resulting from the category 4 hurricane that hit South Texas last Friday has caused catastrophic damage.

Stories of relief efforts by REALTORS® continue to make the news, stories like that of Nicole Lopez, a REALTOR® with Intero Real Estate Services in Houston.

According to an article on Inman.com, Lopez and her fiancé Heath Cummins helped the Houston Police Department bring at least 300 people and pets from the Lakewood area of Houston to safety using a high-water rescue vehicle.

Another area REALTOR®, George “Local” Huntoon, of eXp Realty, used his boat to help in the rescue efforts, according to the article.

Ways you can provide relief

Real estate agents who would like to help those affected by Harvey through charitable giving have a number of options. The REALTORS® Relief Foundation, is coordinating efforts for relief for victims in gulf coast cities and the greater Houston area, according to a blog post by Lenox Scott on John L. Scott Partner Connection.

“Established to provide to needy victims of disasters … and their families, assistance with housing-related needs arising out of such disasters, and for other charitable purposes,” this National Association of REALTORS® foundation disperses 100% of all collected funds to disaster relief causes on an as-needed basis as determined by the Foundation’s directors.

A recent article on The Weather Channel’s website provides a list of charitable organizations that are collecting donations and funds for Hurricane Harvey victims. The list includes widely known relief associations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. In addition, donations can be made to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund  or the Austin Disaster Relief Network.

“This will change the landscape of the city. They are going to have to
re-think a lot of things after this.” 

Outside the box giving

Real estate agents also should consider donations that are not provided by disaster relief organizations, such as diapers for children affected by the storm. Donations of cash and diapers can be made to the Texas Diaper Bank.

They should also think about blood donation. According to The Weather Channel article, although all blood type donations are welcome, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is in immediate need of types O negative and O positive, and is asking residents in the Austin and New Braunfels areas to donate now.

Real estate services are needed, too

Of course, housing needs are a major concern. According to the Inman.com article, REALTORS® and real estate investors who have access to reduced or rent-free homes can post information to the “Housing After Harvey” Facebook page started by Lopez and Katie Maxwell, vice president at Intero Houston. True to form, real estate professionals already have begun to offer their services, either providing information about available space or passing along the needs of clients who have been displaced by the storm.

Media outlets vary on the estimated cost to rebuild the area affected by Hurricane Harvey. CNN Money has reported a figure as high as $40 billion, citing “more than $20 billion worth of those damages could be in the Houston metropolitan area alone.”

“This will change the landscape of the city,” Lopez said in the Inman article. “They are going to have to re-think a lot of things after this.”