This week’s House to House article was adapted from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® letter from Bill Brown, 2017 NAR President and Bob Goldberg, 2018 NAR CEO.
Since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall, we have watched thousands of communities ravaged by wind, rain and rising floodwaters. Only 15 percent of homes in Harris County, which includes Houston, and 20 percent of Corpus Christi are covered by flood insurance, CNN reports. In Florida, with 1,350 miles of coastline, the most in the continental United States, just 42 percent of the 2.5 million homes in hazard zones, are covered by flood insurance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association.
While we may feel helpless to stop acts of nature, we are not powerless to protect these and other homeowners across the country. More than 122,000 REALTORS® responded to the Call for Action earlier this month to urge Congress to reform and extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) past the current September 30, 2017 deadline. Congress and the White House responded by extending the program until December 8, 2017. But this is not enough. The REALTOR® Party will continue its efforts to urge Congress to make critical reforms to the programs, as well as reinstate it for years to come, not just months.
The recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are and must be the first priority. Not only are the REALTOR® Family’s thoughts and prayers with these hurricane victims, but REALTORS® also are opening their pocketbooks through the REALTOR® Relief Foundation. Just this week, NAR (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®) contributed $600,000 to the Foundation in support of the victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Over the past two weeks, REALTORS® across the country pledged and donated approximately $1.2 million and counting. All of the funds collected – 100 percent — go to disaster relief causes.
In the meantime, NAR will continue to support comprehensive reform legislation to make critical improvements to the NFIP, including increased funds for mitigation activities, caps on overall premium increases, improved claim and mapping processes, as well as removing hurdles for more private market participation in the flood insurance market. Collectively these improvements will benefit both homeowners and taxpayers.
REALTORS® are an integral part of the communities in which we live and work. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and their aftermath have created an unprecedented disaster, and the REALTOR® Relief Foundation will help families who have endured unimaginable loss. But remember, the REALTOR® Relief Foundation works throughout the year to help families hurt by wild fires, acts of terrorism, tornadoes, floods and more. This foundation, established 16 years ago after the 9/11 attacks, is an expression of our members’ commitment to rebuilding communities. After all, strong communities are what we’re all about.