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Homes4NC launches Adopt-a-REALTOR® campaign

The campaign will help REALTOR® members impacted by Hurricane Matthew by covering member dues

Greensboro, North Carolina (January 15, 2017) — Today, the NC REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Foundation, Homes4NC, kicked off its Adopt-a-REALTOR® campaign targeted specifically to NC REALTORS® members. The program covers local, state, and national REALTOR® dues for 2017 for members impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

Sponsored by private donors, including NC REALTORS® members, non-profits, and corporations, Homes4NC’s Board of Directors approved a $3000 allocation in December as seed money to fund the program and jumpstart the application approval process.

Each NC REALTOR® member is eligible to receive up to $500 to cover their association dues. Applications will be accepted until March 15, 2017 or until funds are depleted. Membership dues are typically payable to local REALTOR® associations by March 31 of each year.

“Homes4NC is proud to sponsor the Adopt-a-REALTOR® program, which aids members in their hour of need,” said Sofia Crisp, 2017 President of the Homes4NC Board of Directors. “We hope that by covering these expenses now, we will help our members build back their lives and businesses with one less worry.”

NC REALTORS® seeking assistance with their membership dues can visit this website, complete the application, and submit it by March 15. Corporations, REALTORS®, non-profits, and individual donors interested in sponsoring an NC REALTOR® by covering their membership dues, in whole or in part, can visit this website and complete the online form. All donations are tax deductible under the IRS 501c(3) guidelines.

The Adopt-a-REALTOR® program is the latest in a series of grassroots efforts by Homes4NC and REALTORS® to aid members and residents across the state with Hurricane Matthew recovery.

Through the National Association of REALTORS® Relief Foundation, individuals have been able to apply and receive up to $1,500 for mortgage payments, rent payments or temporary housing assistance, based on demonstrated need, since Hurricane Matthew struck in early October. Over the past few months, Homes4NC and NC REALTORS® staff and volunteers have worked with hundreds of applicants in affected areas. Currently, more than $211,909.04 worth of requests for temporary housing grants have been approved for 220 applicants with many more in process. Homes4NC’s Board of Directors also allocated $3000 to the NAR Relief Fund in October. All applications under this program for temporary housing assistance are due by January 31, 2017.

In addition to these funds, staff and volunteers for both organizations have committed hundreds of hours to local relief efforts, including surveying damaged properties, increasing awareness for NAR’s REALTOR® Relief Fund, collecting applications, and delivering supplies to the hardest-hit areas.

Matching Grants Awarded

On November 18, the Homes4NC Board of Directors approved a total of $4,000 in Matching Grants to the following projects, submitted by local associations:

  • An award of $1,000 toward construction of a house built by Habitat for Humanity of High Point, Archdale and Trinity. The High Point Regional Association of REALTORS® requested these funds and has already committed $2,000 toward this project.
  • An award of $1,000 toward construction of a house built by Habitat for Humanity of Randolph County. The Asheboro Randolph Council of Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association requested these funds and has already committed $1,000 toward this project.
  • An award of $2,000 toward financial literacy courses taught to first-time homebuyers through Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County. The Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® requested these funds and has already committed $2,500 toward this project.

The Board of Directors of Homes4NC applauds the members of these three local REALTOR® associations for their deep commitment to improving housing affordability issues in their communities.

Adopt-A-REALTOR® Program for flood victims

In order to assist our members who have been impacted by Hurricane Mathew Homes4NC, NC REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Foundation, created the Adopt-a-REALTOR® program. NC REALTORS® members who have experienced losses as a result of Hurricane Matthew will be able to apply for 2017 NC REALTORS® dues assistance.

An application for assistance will be available soon.

Members who would like contribute to the Adopt-a-REALTOR® program will be able make a tax deductible contribution to Homes4NC. Homes4NC has already donated $3,000 toward the Adopt-A-REALTOR® program and $3,000 directly to NAR’s REALTOR® Relief Fund, which is for the public.

Please be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks about the Adopt-A-REALTOR® program.

Providing Aid through Relief Fund

 

Update February 24, 2017:

Homes4NC volunteers and NC REALTORS® staffers have been on the front line, working in conjunction with NAR’s REALTOR® Relief Fund, in this major undertaking. To date, NC REALTORS® has approved $304,235.04 worth of requests for 308 applications. NAR has provided funding of $242,770.86 for 254 applications. We are taking the last steps to close out housing assistance requests from flood victims.

New Relief Fund applications are no longer being accepted.

 

The Storm

On October 1, 2016, Hurricane Matthew gained strength over the eastern Caribbean as a Category 5 storm.  

On October 4, Matthew made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Haiti and Cuba.

On October 8, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the United States as a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds at McClennanville, SC, and we all held our breath.

Photo courtesy of The Weather Channel.  Click to read the full article. 

We extended our thoughts and prayers to the residents of our beautiful beaches.

Initial reports of the storm's progress gave North Carolinians hope that our coastal areas, while battered, had largely escaped massive damage.

But our hearts soon melted as Matthew lingered significantly inland over eastern North Carolina.

The Category 1 Hurricane unleashed heavy rainfall over areas upwards of 40 miles from the coast.  The North Carolina Department of Insurance estimates that the storm dumped 17 inches of rain over ground already saturated by the previous Hurricane Hermine.  

Inland rivers rose to levels never recorded, washing away homes and lives with unexpected force and devastation.  The death toll in the United States is estimated at 43 and rising with 28 of those deaths reported in North Carolina.

State officials have released estimates of $1.5 billion in damage to over 100,000 homes, business and government buildings.  The impact to agriculture, the key industry of eastern North Carolina, has yet to be tallied.  

 

Dealing with the Aftermath

FEMA and other relief organizations arrived immediately to aid individuals.  Now, four weeks after the storm, many relief organizations are leaving.  North Carolina authorities are still grappling with the effects of Hurricane Matthew. 

Governor Pat McCrory has called for a special session  of our state legislature to discuss and understand the destruction left in the storm's wake.

Many residents have lost everything -- clothes, diapers, food, medicine.  But housing remains an urgent and ongoing need.  

One of the saddest elements in this tragedy is that Matthew hit the most poverty-stricken areas in the nation.  US Census officials have named Robeson County, NC, as "persistently poor," and post-2010 Census analysts named Lumberton, NC, as the poorest city in the United States in 2013. 

Many displaced residents had few resources prior to the flooding, and now, many have lost any resources they had.

 

What we are doing

The situation on the ground is dire.  As you can imagine, most affected residents do not have flood insurance.  Many elderly residents own their home outright and lack the resources (phone, transportation, internet access) to complete applications for temporary housing assistance.  Others rent and have now expended all their FEMA temporary housing funds.  They must find shelter and pay rent on their damaged housing. 

Our NC REALTOR® volunteers have also talked with victims whose homes were filled up to the second floor with flood waters.  These families pay over $1600 per month in mortgage obligations and are paying for a temporary rental property while contractors attempt to assess their damages.  Many residents have not been allowed to enter or come near their properties because municipal governments have expressed safety concerns.

Our volunteers are comforting victims who were denied federal temporary housing funds and attempting to live in mobile homes with disintegrating particle board flooring, no functioning wiring, roof and crawlspace damage.  Put in the simplest terms, the need is great.

 

The Relief Fund efforts in NC

In response to the need, the NC REALTORS®' Executive Committee has generously donated $80,000 to the national Relief Fund organized by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). 

NC members have begun matching the $80,000 commitment.  As of November 4, more than $5000 has been raised. 

NAR has committed $300,000 from the Relief Fund specifically earmarked for North Carolina Hurricane Matthew victims. 

So how does that work in practical terms?  Up to $1000 can be awarded per applicant for mortgage payments, rent payments or temporary housing assistance for applicants demonstrating need.

 

NC REALTORS® care

To give you a snapshot of our activity since Matthew hit, we have compiled some statistics current through 5 pm, November 3. 

Over 50 volunteers have distributed applications to flooding victims.  While their man hours on the ground are countless, we know that they have volunteered for at least 19 days on the ground in Lumberton, Kinston, Greenville, New Bern, and Fayetteville.  NC REALTORS® estimates that we have reached at least 3200 residents, conducted 2 clothing drives and sent at least 3 trucks full of supplies to affected areas.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteer coordinators like Fayetteville REALTOR® of the Year Wendy Harris, applications are coming in to our state headquarters. 

To date, we have processed 325 applications.  Of these, 99 percent require call backs from volunteers who explain the need for follow-up documentation and how, with their limited resources, victims can send their documentation to us. 

Volunteers from the Homes4NC Board of Directors have spent at least 40 hours on the phone with current applicants to walk them through the process.

Of the applicants, we estimate that 10 percent are homeowners, 80 percent are renters, and 10 percent own their property outright and seek temporary housing.  

To date, we have approved 44 applications for $37,000.  We anticipate that volume to increase.

 River Roadsign

house underwater

A REALTOR® member shares photos of her attempts to access her street and home after the flooding.

 

How to access help

Those seeking temporary housing, mortgage payment or rent payment assistance on their primary residence damaged by Hurricane Matthew flooding may print and return this form.  Please remember to send proof of mortgage payment, rent payment or temporary housing cost (through invoices, statements, etc.).  We must have documentation in order to process your application. New Relief Fund applications are no longer being accepted.

More resources for non-housing needs are listed on this website.

Topsail Island Golf Tournament Success

Topsail Island REALTORS®, affiliate members, and volunteers came together on Wednesday, October 19, at the North Shore Country Club for a beautiful day of golf.  This 18-hole tournament benefited Homes4NC, the NC REALTORS® charitable foundation.

Please view our extensive photo album on Facebook by clicking this link.  Please feel free to share these photos with friends and colleagues.

homes4ncteam

Representing the Homes4NC Board of Directors and winning second place in the tournament were (from left):  Jody Wainio, James McDuffie, Mark Connor, and Phyllis Furr St. Clair.

Homes4NC extends special thanks to the following individuals and organizations, without whose hard work and sponsorship this event would not have been possible:

Topsail Island Association of REALTORS®

Arlene Miller

Ailene Green

Elaine Anderson

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topsailteam1

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