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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mansell Leads Effort to Assist Katrina Survivors

Today's Utah Policy Daily reported on Al Mansell's work to restore communities hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Senator Al Mansell is Assisting Relief Efforts

By Hayden Hill

After being back only a month from assisting tsunami relief efforts in Khao Lak, Thailand, Sen. Al Mansell is once again rallying disaster relief support – this time for hurricane Katrina victims. As president of the National Realtors Association, the former Utah Senate president is using the resources of Realtors nationwide in providing funds, information and manpower to the devastated Gulf Coast areas.

With a single email message, Mansell’s organization obtained 5,906 donations totaling $3.4 million in relief funds – and anticipates raising several million more in the next few weeks. The Realtors have earmarked every dime for individuals affected by Katrina with “not one cent spent on administrative costs,” Mansell said. He also notes that the vast majority of donations were in hundred dollar increments from individual members.

“[The funds] are being used to assist in rebuilding lives,” he says. “The money goes directly to the state associations so that at the state level they can decide the most worthy recipients.”

Another large part of the Realtors’ efforts is providing listings of vacant houses, apartment buildings, warehouses and even parking lots that can be used as temporary shelters. Directly following the storm, FEMA contacted the Realtors for an inventory of available housing in the surrounding five states. The Realtors’ response to the request was so staggering that the original Web site set up to house the information was soon overwhelmed with the profusion of listings.

The Red Cross also petitioned the Realtors help in the form of direct labor. Mansell received a call last week asking for 250 volunteers to go to the heart of the disaster and assist directly with relief efforts. The volunteers will bring their own food, water and gasoline and are told to expect to be gone anywhere between seven and fourteen days. “I know the response will be excellent,” says Mansell. “We’ll get more than 250.”

Mansell is visiting Mobile, Ala. and Jackson, Miss. this week to meet with state and local officials and work out exactly how the Realtors can best help. “We want to make sure they have the necessary staff. Whatever they need – the national association is willing to pay for it and make sure they’re taken care of.”

The National Association of Realtors, with around 1.2 million members, is the largest trade association in the country. “I don’t think people realize it, but Realtors are invested in the concept of communities,” says Mansell. “The better the community, the better the lifestyle. That’s why were down here, to rebuild people’s way of life.”

Read the NAR Press Release.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the latest press release on NAR aid to Katrina survivors:

September 27, 2005 12:11 PM US Eastern Timezone

Realtors(R) Reach out to Those Left Homeless by Katrina

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 27, 2005--The National Association of Realtors(R) and its Realtor(R) members continue their efforts to provide relief for hurricane victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, raising $4,294,330 for the Realtors(R) Relief Foundation to date.

More than one month after Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast, the foundation has received 10,574 donations totaling $3,144,330, which will be added to NAR's $1.15 million seed donation. All donations are being given to the state Realtor(R) associations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama; these associations will then determine how to best distribute the funds.

"Our Realtor(R) members continue to demonstrate their care and concern for their communities, even when they themselves have been affected," said NAR President Al Mansell of Salt Lake City. "Because of the generosity of the thousands of Realtors(R) who have contributed to the Realtors(R) Relief Foundation, many displaced residents in the affected areas are receiving the assistance they so badly need."

Mansell spent much of the past two weeks touring the devastated areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and presented checks from the foundation to the three state associations. This week, he is issuing another plea for donations to NAR's more than 1 million Realtor(R) members--the three state associations have been inundated with requests for relief, and more are expected.

To date, the Louisiana Realtors(R) Association, the Mississippi Association of Realtors(R) and the Alabama Association of Realtors(R) have received more than 4,200 applications and have distributed nearly $900,000 to families and individuals in need. The funds help cover mortgage payments and insurance deductibles, as well as the basic necessities of food, clothing and rent.

Realtors(R) have been providing relief in other ways, as well. HurricaneHousing.net, created by the Louisiana Realtors(R)Association to help Katrina evacuees find housing, has been receiving approximately 100,000 hits every day. In Texas, a New Orleans waiter moved into his new home as one of the first recipients of the Houston Association of Realtors(R) Make-A-Home project, thanks to the association's www.har.com Web site.

On an individual level, Realtors(R) across the country have been volunteering at shelters, working to place families in temporary housing rent-free, and helping family and friends find each other on Internet community message boards. One Realtor(R), as a volunteer for People and Paws Search and Rescue, even helped save 202 people, seven dogs, and two cats.

Contributions to the Realtors(R) Relief Foundation can be made online through the following secure site powered by NAR's e-commerce system: https://www.realtor.org/RelFundTrack.nsf/Contribution?OpenForm. Contributions are tax deductible. To make contributions by mail, checks should be made payable to the Realtors(R) Relief Foundation and sent to: Realtors(R) Relief Foundation, Attn: NAR Finance Division, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611.

The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at http://www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section in the NAR Media Center.

REALTOR(R) is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R) and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.

9/27/2005 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Al! You make us proud. Now if we could just work on that golf game of yours.

9/28/2005 5:34 PM  

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