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Apartment industry mobilizes to aid victims.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents were left homeless. As it has before during tragic situations, the apartment industry stepped up to the challenge. NAA's membership immediately mobilized and worked around the clock to provide assistance, most specifically housing, for more than 1 million evacuees.

Units were sought nationwide, and NAA's members made an abundance of them available--many at no cost for a short-term basis, and most at a discounted rate. Member contributions to aid the hurricane evacuees totaled millions of dollars.

Owners waived most, if not all, administrative fees and made screening exceptions for some who were unemployed due to the catastrophe. Utility services and vital supplies, such as water, food, clothing, diapers, formula and baby food, were collected by the truckload from members, who loaded them and sent them directly to those in need.

From independent owners to the nation's largest real estate investment trusts, NAA would like to recognize and sincerely thank the people behind all of the efforts put forth by the apartment industry nationwide, housing providers as well as supplier partners.

Owners listed their available vacant units of all varieties--market-rate, affordable, student, temporary living and military--on HurricaneHousing.net, a searchable database of nationwide housing resources that has included thousands of listings from NAA members.

The Web site continues to operate as additional, specific needs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the American Red Cross, United Way and other supportive agencies and organizations are identified.

Under stress, NAA members were able to maintain patience and perseverance. While facing communication breakdowns with government officials, who sometimes struggled with their own internal communications, NAA members rose to the occasion.

NAA affiliates and their members also strived to have IRS restrictions lifted or relaxed, and, in Houston, a voucher system was created through its City Hall to expedite the placement of evacuees.

NAA would like to specifically recognize the efforts of the Houston Apartment Association (HAA). Working with the Texas Apartment Association and other nearby affiliates, HAA took a leading role, setting an example for apartment owners in nearby metropolitan areas.

While HAA worked diligently, it did not take long for the available housing stock in that area to fill. Just days after fleeing the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, tens of thousands of evacuees made their way in droves to Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and every town in between. Many traveled beyond the Texas borders to states across the country, and NAA members were also there to help.

While the hurricane has passed and the Gulf Coast region is beginning to clean up and dry out, former residents of the region continue to find comfort in apartments away from home donated by NAA members. Some evacuees have decided to become permanent residents in their cities of refuge, making a life in the homes that our industry has provided.

Members of the apartment industry continually rise to the challenge, and NAA thanks its members for all they have done for our fellow citizens in a time of crisis. Updates on all hurricane-related information can be found at www.naahq.org.

In Texas alone, apartment managers have provided more than 50,000 apartment homes to Hurricane Katrina victims,

Many of these apartments were leased with 30 to 60 days free rent, discounted rent, no security deposit and no move-in fees.

In addition, apartment employees worked diligently to secure furniture, household items, food, clothing and school supplies for these displaced families.

Hurricane Aid By the Numbers

1.5 Million Number of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, according to the American Red Cross

209,568 Number of evacuees in apartments, according to self-reported numbers from affiliates in nine states

$3,119,097 Dollars donated by the

apartment industry, as reported to NAA
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Title Annotation:Hurricane Response
Publication:Units
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:634
Previous Article:NAA/NMHC accomplish 2005 goals.
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