Tag - Hurricane Harvey

Habitat Hammers Back: Habitat for Humanity receives major support for hurricane recovery as leading housing nonprofit begins its response

Habitat Hammers Back: Habitat for Humanity receives major support for hurricane recovery as leading housing nonprofit begins its response

ATLANTA/ Sept. 10, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — Four organizations will serve as keystone partners of Habitat for Humanity’s response to Hurricane Harvey and Irma, each making contributions of $1 million or more to support the Habitat Hammers Back initiative. The gifts from the Dow Chemical Company, General Motors, Thrivent Financial and a group of American wind energy companies will support on-the-ground responses to the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and other affected areas.

“These generous partners share our commitment to helping families recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “Dow, GM and Thrivent share a long history of supporting our work, and we are pleased to welcome the support of representatives from the wind industry. Their contributions allow us to be on the ground to respond to the storms without delay.”

As Hurricane Irma begins to hit Florida, Habitat for Humanity—already at work in storm-ravaged southeast Texas—is expanding its hurricane recovery response. Through the Habitat Hammers Back initiative, Habitat for Humanity is working with its local offices along Irma’s path to respond to the storm with pre-positioned response equipment.

“Harvey and Irma have wrought unprecedented levels of damage, particularly to peoples’ homes,” Reckford added. “We need additional support to match this enormous challenge. We ask for anyone who can to join Habitat Hammers Back by visiting habitat.org/hurricanes today.”

As part of Thrivent’s mission to help Christians be wise with money and live generously, the organization has committed monetary and hands-on support in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey—allowing neighbors to help neighbors and communities to help communities. Building on a more than 10-year partnership with Habitat, Thrivent is making an initial $1 million contribution and committing an additional $2 million to support Thrivent members and others to travel to Harvey and Irma affected areas and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity alongside families who need assistance. Thrivent is also offering to match up to $3 million in personal donations made through their website to Habitat for Humanity.

At the intersection of sustainability, innovation and citizenship, Dow’s support of Habitat Hammers Back builds on a more than 35-year partnership between the organizations. Focused on the long-term recovery of the region and communities where the company has operations, Dow’s $1 million of support includes a financial commitment, a broad range of technology-based products and solutions for home construction and repairs, and employee volunteerism.

General Motors’ $1 million cash contribution to support Harvey and Irma is in addition to past post-disaster support that in the wake of Superstorm Sandy included the contribution of vehicles to Habitat that serve as Mobile Response Units for disaster responders. These vehicles are also being deployed to support Habitat’s response to the recent hurricanes.

Representatives of America’s wind energy industry are making a financial commitment of $1 million to Habitat Hammers Back as well as a commitment of volunteers to help with the rebuilding effort. Texas has the largest installed base of wind power in the nation, and the industry nationally employs over 100,000 workers. A number of wind energy families were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Working through its local offices as well as by deploying trained Disaster Corps volunteers, Habitat conducts rapid assessments of storm damage and helps clean out homes damaged by winds and flood waters. Habitat’s long-term post-disaster recovery efforts include repair of damaged homes and construction of new affordable homes. Construction plans are determined after evaluations and are dependent on the level of support received from donors, volunteers, corporate partners and other community organizations.

Habitat has been responding to disasters since 1997 and to date has helped more than 230,000 families in 52 countries through its disaster response work. Following Hurricane Katrina, Habitat organizations along the Gulf Coast built more than 6,000 homes and removed debris and cleaned more than 2,500 homes in preparation for rehabilitation. Habitat also mounted responses to Superstorm Sandy, tornadoes through the South and Midwest, and earthquakes and typhoons overseas.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

SOURCE: Habitat for Humanity International

Texas home sales activity jumps in first half of 2017

Texas home sales activity jumps in first half of 2017 English

AUSTIN/ Sept. 8, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — Texas home sales volume, home prices and listings activity experienced strong gains in the first half of the year, according to the 2017 Texas Real Estate Midyear Review Report released today by the Texas Association of Realtors.

“The devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey will affect real estate activity in many areas of the state for the remainder of this year,” said Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Sales activity through the first half of the year had surpassed economic projections, with strong growth in sales activity and the number of homes on the market.”

Texas home sales jumped 5.5 percent compared to the first six months of 2016, with 166,256 homes sold throughout Texas between January and June 2017. Texas home prices also continued to rise steadily in the first half of the year. The median sales price increased 7.7 percent from the year prior to $221,800.

Jim Gaines, Ph.D., chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, also cautioned that Hurricane Harvey will likely negatively impact housing market statistics for the remainder of 2017. “Houston’s housing market accounts for roughly 25 percent of the Texas housing market,” said Gaines, “and it could take months before the Houston area begins to enter the recovery phase and a few years before the impacted communities fully recover.”

The number of homes on the market also grew significantly statewide in the first half of the year, with active listings increasing 5.9 percent year-over-year to 99,398 active listings. This uptick in housing stock has helped lead to a much-needed increase in housing inventory, which ended at 4.1 months in June 2017.

This is only the second time in three years that Texas housing inventory levels have surpassed 4.0 months, although this is still well below the 6 to 6.5 months of inventory the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates as a balanced housing market. Texas homes spent approximately the same length of time on the market in the first half of 2017: an average of 58 days.

Chairman Fullerton concluded, “Realtors across Texas are stepping up and coming together with other community leaders to drive cleanup efforts and bring relief where it is needed most. The Texas Association of Realtors has already distributed more than $1 million through the Realtors Disaster Relief Fund to Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Realtors and many local Realtor associations are also assisting in hands-on relief efforts in areas that were affected by this devastating storm so we can rebuild our communities.”

About the Texas Real Estate Midyear Review Report
Data for the Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report is provided by the Data Relevance Project, a partnership among the Texas Association of REALTORS® and local REALTOR® associations throughout the state. Data analysis is provided by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The report provides annual real estate sales data from a statewide perspective and for 25 metropolitan statistical areas in Texas. To view the report in its entirety, visit TexasRealEstate.com.

About the Texas Association of REALTORS®
With more than 110,000 members, the Texas Association of REALTORS® is a professional membership organization that represents all aspects of real estate in Texas. We advocate on behalf of Texas REALTORS® and private-property owners to keep homeownership affordable, protect private-property rights, and promote public policies that benefit homeowners. Visit TexasRealEstate.com to learn more.

SOURCE: Texas Association of REALTORS

Houston Homeowners Warned Against Repair Scams

Houston Homeowners Warned Against Repair Scams

WASHINGTON/ Sept. 8, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — Houston homeowners should stay alert for storm-chasing contractors who dangle fast, cheap and fraudulent repairs that could cost thousands of dollars out of pocket, the nonprofit Coalition Against Insurance Fraud warns.

“Harvey’s vast home damage may outrace the ability of trustworthy contractors to quickly respond with urgently needed repairs. Con artists will try to exploit the confusion with bogus repair deals,” Coalition executive director Dennis Jay says.

Harvey destroyed up to 40,000 homes. Yet labor and subcontractor shortages are widespread, the National Association of Homebuilders says.

Most home contractors are honest. Crooked storm chasers, however, typically troll neighborhoods after natural disasters. Many are unlicensed, and often go door to door. Storm chasers may offer low prices and promise speedy repairs that are setups for scams.

Repairs may be shoddy, using substandard materials. Contractors may demand a large downpayment, then disappear without finishing the work.

Fixing up fraudulent or botched repairs can cost homeowners thousands of extra dollars out of pocket. Storm chasers also may inflate insurance claims, jeopardizing potentially covered repair payouts.

Houston consumers can protect themselves:

Avoid door-to-door pitches. Avoid contractors who go door to door. Many are dishonest and unlicensed, trying to export desperate homeowners for profit.

Get written bids. Obtain several written repair bids. Avoid signing the first contract offer, especially if it seems unusually low.

Have a signed contract. Start work only with a signed repair contract. It should detail cost, promised work, material and schedule.

Avoid pressure tactics. Avoid signing up if the contractor pressures you for a fast decision for a “special discount” or “one-time offer.”

Work with insurer. Coordinate covered repairs with your insurer. Have an adjuster inspect the damage first.

Contractor licensed? Check for required licenses, plus proof of workers compensation and liability coverage.

Paying deductible. Be wary if the contractor offers to pay your deductible. It could be a lure for a repair scam.

Fair downpayment. A reasonable downpayment is about 30 percent. Never pay in cash. Write checks to the contractor’s company instead of the contractor personally.

Report scams. Call the consumer helpline of the Texas Insurance Department at 1-800-252-3439, and discover other helpful Harvey resources.

“Staying alert to repair scams can help rebuilding go faster and make sure repairs are done right,” Jay says.

SOURCE: Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Mayor : Houston ‘open for business’ despite Harvey disaster

Mayor : Houston 'open for business' despite Harvey disaster

HOUSTON/September 4, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Houston’s mayor insists that America’s fourth-largest city is “open for business,” but with areas under water, people not yet in their homes, and billions in damage to repair, major disasters that Harvey created are by no means resolved.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said much of the city was hoping to get back on track after Labor Day.

“Anyone who was planning on a conference or a convention or a sporting event or a concert coming to this city, you can still come,” he told CBS. “We can do multiple things at the same time.”

One worry, of further explosions at a damaged chemical plant, eased after officials carried out a controlled burn Sunday evening of highly unstable compounds at the Arkema plant in Crosby. Three trailers had previously caught fire after Harvey’s floodwaters knocked out generators.

Authorities said they would keep monitoring the air, and people living within a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) of the site outside Houston are still evacuated. But floodwaters also have inundated at least five toxic waste Superfund sites near Houston and some may be damaged, though Environmental Protection Agency officials have yet to assess the full extent of what occurred.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told CNN the EPA is “working on some of them already,” but “they have restraints on their ability to check out some of them just simply because of the water.”

Turner said Houston’s drinking water hadn’t been affected by the storm, but told CBS, “We would hope that the EPA would be on the ground now to take a look at those Superfund sites, to make sure that contamination is contained and limited.”

Other issues across the region: too much water still in houses, but no water to drink.

Utility crews went door-to-door Sunday shutting off power and warning those still in some waterlogged homes in western parts of the city that more flooding was possible — not from rain, but from releases of water from overtaxed reservoirs. Thousands of Houston dwellings were under mandatory evacuation orders, though about 300 people were thought to be refusing to leave.

People briefly returned Sunday to some homes in the area, which included brick two-story and ranch homes bordering Buffalo Bayou, to try to salvage valuables.

More than a week since the storm hit, the 4 feet (1.2 meters) of water in her parents’ home had receded just a foot (3o centimeters), said Karen Mace. She was trying to retrieve family photos from the one-story ranch her parents built and have lived in for 56 years, which backs up to Buffalo Bayou.

“It came up fast. They had to get out by canoe,” Mace said, adding they thought the home would have to be demolished.

Harvey slammed into Texas on Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane, but brought the worst flooding to Houston and other areas as a tropical storm. The rain totaled nearly 52 inches (1.3 meters) in some spots, and the storm is blamed for at least 44 deaths.

In other storm-ravaged neighborhoods, people worried about thefts.

Police in the southwest Bellaire neighborhood received reports of scavengers picking through water-damaged possessions and urged those cleaning up to keep anything left outside to dry closer to their homes and separate from what was considered a total loss. In the suburb of Dickinson, one homeowner used orange spray paint on a sheet of dirty plywood to warn: “Looters Will B Shot.”

Meanwhile, repairs continued on the water treatment plant in Beaumont, about 85 miles (140 kilometers) from Houston, which failed after the swollen Neches River inundated the main intake system and backup pumps halted. And outside the town of Liberty, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) from Houston, dozens of people were still cut off by the swollen Trinity River. A Texas National Guard helicopter landed at the local fire department with pallets of drinking water.

President Donald Trump has asked Congress for a $7.9 billion down payment toward Harvey relief and recovery efforts. Abbott suggested the cost of recovery could be as much as $180 billion.

By MICHAEL GRACZYK and JAY REEVES ,  Associated Press

EagleView Donates Post Storm Imagery via Online Tool to Help Hurricane Harvey Evacuees Assess Property Damage

EagleView Donates Post Storm Imagery via Online Tool to Help Hurricane Harvey Evacuees Assess Property Damage

BOTHELL, Wash./ Sept. 3, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News) — EagleView Technologies (“EagleView®”), the leading provider of aerial imagery and property analytics for the government, insurance and commercial sectors, this week mobilized a fleet of nearly two dozen aircraft to capture detailed, bird’s eye view images of Hurricane Harvey’s damage to help evacuees assess the storm’s impact on their homes. As of this morning, limited post-event imagery is available in the tool, but the site is being populated in real-time with new imagery as it is captured and processed.

The images are available through a newly launched website – specifically developed in the wake of the hurricane – that displays before-and-after images of properties throughout the affected Texas regions. The site and its imagery are accessible to homeowners and can be found at http://harvey2017.eagleview.com. Residents can enter their address on the site and view aerial photos of their property both before the storm and afterward.

Users will be able to zoom into and out of the photos, and pan across images to surrounding neighborhoods allowing them to survey the broader damage. The online tool is mobile-friendly for easy access.

Recent reports estimate that 30,000 to 40,000 homes have been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

“Tens of thousands of residents are evacuating from the Houston area, and we understand how scary it can be to leave your home behind without any insight as to what’s happening in the time that you’re away,” EagleView President Rishi Daga said. “We want to help, and are providing this tool to evacuees at no cost who won’t be able to gain access to or see the condition of their property until they return, which could take days or even weeks.”

With more than 20 planes rigged with EagleView’s image capture technology flying over the affected areas of Texas, EagleView is continuously collecting and processing high-resolution aerial imagery at a rapid rate to help evacuees, first responders, officials and insurance companies assess the storm’s damage and help Texans get back on their feet faster. In addition to the latest real-time photos, EagleView has taken images of every coastal county in the Lone State over the last 12 months, making before-and-after photos possible.

For more information on EagleView’s deployment of aircraft, drones and other assets following Hurricane Harvey, please contact Melissa Mazurek at (585) 444-2504 or melissa.mazurek@eagleview.com.

About EagleView
EagleView® is the unparalleled provider of aerial imagery, data analytics, property data, and GIS solutions for government, infrastructure and commercial sectors. The patented Pictometry® imagery solutions answer questions related to millions of residential and commercial properties, saving individuals time and money while also reducing exposure to risk. EagleView provides access to its orthogonal and oblique aerial imagery, 3D models, interior mapping solution, and measurement and analytical tools through proprietary software as well as integrations for assessment, GIS, public safety and other industries. For more information, contact (866) 659-8439 or visit www.eagleview.com.

SOURCE: EagleView Technologies


American Homes 4 Rent Provides a Hurricane Harvey Update

American Homes 4 Rent Provides a Hurricane Harvey Update

AGOURA HILLS, Calif./ August 28, 2017 (StlRealEstate.News)– American Homes 4 Rent (NYSE: AMH), a leading provider of high quality single-family rental homes (“the Company”), provided an update to the storm related damage and flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“As storms continue in Houston and other areas in southern Texas, the primary concern of American Homes 4 Rent is the safety and welfare of our residents and employees,” stated David Singelyn, American Homes 4 Rent’s Chief Executive Officer.  “Our response teams are currently assessing the extent of damage but are hindered by continuing storms and difficulty getting into the affected areas.  Our assessment will be ongoing for several days.”

The Company owns approximately 3,200 houses in the Houston market area.  The Company’s property and casualty insurance policies cover flood damage and business interruption costs, subject to deductibles and limits.

About American Homes 4 Rent
American Homes 4 Rent is a leader in the single-family home rental industry and “American Homes 4 Rent” is fast becoming a nationally recognized brand for rental homes, known for high quality, good value and tenant satisfaction. We are an internally managed Maryland real estate investment trust, or REIT, focused on acquiring, renovating, leasing, and operating attractive, single-family homes as rental properties. As of June 30, 2017, we owned 48,982 single-family properties in selected submarkets in 22 states.

SOURCE: American Homes 4 Rent