Helping Hurricane Victims
Due to flooding caused by the hurricane, more than 30,000 people were displaced from their homes in Texas and Louisiana. The evacuees staying in shelters or with friends and relatives included many renters. Yardi software helps manage a significant percentage of the Houston multifamily housing market.
Yardi committed $1 million to support nonprofit organizations in the rebuilding of the areas affected by the hurricane, and will match employee donations to the hurricane relief fund. But there was also an opportunity to assist those in need of temporary or permanent housing due to floodwater damage.
“The state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery-housing missions that the nation has ever seen,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long said at a news conference Monday. “It’s a long process. Housing is going to be very frustrating in Texas.”
Following in the footsteps of an effort to create a housing clearinghouse for Canadians who lost their homes in the May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, our RENTCafé development team sprang into action.
Using the RENTCafé property marketing and leasing platform, they quickly built a housing website that will help displaced residents find temporary and permanent homes.
The website (RENTCafe.com/HurricaneHarvey) allows housing providers to post available units and for displaced residents to search for housing. Housing providers can visit the site to list properties at no charge.
“We had experience with this kind of rush site build from our work on a housing registry website for the fire victims in Canada last spring,” said Chris Ulep, vice president of multifamily development at Yardi. “A collaborative effort got the website ready in just a couple of days. We hope that hurricane evacuees will find it useful as they search for new homes.”
Yardi has also launched a hotline that evacuees looking for housing can call for housing assistance. The toll-free number is (844) 363-6317.
Additionally, Yardi is offering disaster response assistance for clients on the RENTCafé platform, including nudge messaging, voice messaging and call automation to help clients communicate with their residents during the aftermath. Yardi representatives are reaching out to clients in the affected area to explain and offer these and other services at no charge.
“We have many valued clients in the affected area, and it is important to us to assist those clients as well as their residents who may have been displaced. Thousands of people have lost their housing due to this devastating natural disaster, and we want to help in any way we can,” said Anant Yardi, president and founder of Yardi.
The efforts to help were appreciated by those in the affected area.
“Our industry is committed to housing and providing needed services like online housing portals and other resources to assist those in need. We applaud the efforts of our supplier partners to assist those impacted by the hurricane,” said Chris Newton, executive vice president of the Texas Apartment Association.