First things first, I think it’s important that you take a deep breath and give yourself a break.
Whether you have suffered property damage or loss, sought refuge, cared for your family at home, volunteered in person, or networked and shared resources online at home over these last few days, it’s important to pace yourself mentally and emotionally. The road to recovery from Harvey and his flooding will be a long one. However you’ve spent the last few days, pat yourself on the back. You made it through. The storm and flooding are not over for countless people in the region, but Houstonians are now largely able to focus on relief and recovery.
Boulevard Realty was very fortunate throughout Harvey. Our offices, agents, staff, and listings made it through without any major issue. After the worst of the storm, we immediately got into action. I was among the first to arrive and serve at what would quickly become the George R. Brown Mega Shelter, where I remained for four days straight leading volunteer efforts and working among City of Houston partners. Star Massing launched a social network to match displaced Houstonians with Realtors to help them find short-term housing. We organized a donation drive and delivered to the mega-shelter. We volunteered there throughout the day and overnight, as well as at other local shelters. We checked on our friends, neighbors, and clients and started to share resources.
Now, our focus is on you.
Our story is no different from yours. We saw others in need and we got into action. We reached out to many, but admittedly not all of you.
Just know that the Boulevard Realty team and I will gladly help with things like the coordination of repairs, securing properties or finding rentals. It might be as simple as lending a shop vac or as complex as finding a new place to call home. I am grateful to report that the weather has had very little impact on my home or the Boulevard offices in the Heights, Rice Village, and Downtown Galveston. That means we are left in a fortunate position to help where and when we can.
Frankly, the city’s resources and relief infrastructure are taxed, so we, like so many other individuals and organizations around Houston, are taking a few things upon ourselves. Here’s what to look out for:
- We’re starting our own relief fund to take donations and make grants to individuals and families for expenses specifically related to relocation and getting to your next place. We will launch it on an official crowdfunding platform soon, but for now you can make contributions directly to the fund at this link.
- We’ll be holding our own donation drive. For now, you can drop off donations of any sort at our Heights office at 833 Studewood during our normal business hours of M-F 8-5:30 and S-S 10-5. We’ll figure out who is taking what and get it there safely.
- We’re offering assistance with short-term housing and immediate social services. Here is a link to a Facebook group that links Realtors, Houstonians who are in a position to “adopt” affected individuals and families, and individuals/families in need. Currently, it is the best way to be connected with a realtor-navigator who can help you with an array of immediate needs, from getting around to getting settled in a short-term rental.
- We’re offering direct assistance when it comes to repairs, clean-up, and estimates. The same services we offer as part of our design-build department also give us access to an array of trusted vendors for these services. Just reach out to us and let us know what you think you need.
- We’re here to answer whatever questions you have about what comes next and what you can do to help. Don’t be a stranger. When you’re ready, there are lots of other ways you can get involved. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or any Boulevard agent you have a relationship with. I know each of us would be happy to hear from you.
A few other small things that come to mind immediately for life after Harvey:
Be kind. Not just to your loved ones. Preserve the bonds you formed with your neighbors as you prepared for the storm and after. Do what you can for those in the retail and service industry who may have lost hours or whose tips are down.
Let go of the guilt. If you fared better than many others in our region, just be thankful and get into service. No amount of what some are calling “survivor’s guilt” will serve you. Turn your gratitude into action. There are lots of opportunities to serve, donate, and fundraise.
Return to normal. Get back to shopping and dining locally soon if you’re financially able. They’re back in business not because they’re insensitive to what’s occurred, but because they need to be. Help them reach their sales targets so that they don’t have to worry about staying in business these next few weeks and months and keep Houston’s renown as a culinary and lifestyle destination. We’ll need the tourism money.
Plan on making service a regular part of life after Harvey. Whether it’s one day a week or one day a month, the city will need your help. There is no right or wrong effort, but you won’t feel good if you have no effort. That being said, pace yourself. The recovery effort will be a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t burn yourself out. You still deserve to have a weekend, so talk to your boss about coming in late or leaving early some days to volunteer.
Look out for debris. Especially when you’re out and about driving, but even when walking around. There’s always litter here and there, but the rising waters brought a lot of it out into the streets and sidewalks. Help out by picking it up and throwing it away.
Pest control. This seems rather minor, but you might want to put out extra insect traps or treatment and have skin insect repellent on hand. Now that water has receded, creepy crawlers and flying insects will want to find a new place to call home and get a bite. You probably don’t want it to be you, your house, your porch, or your garage. This is just a small way to make sure you feel comfortable in your home.
Your friendly neighborhood Boulevard agent is here for you. I’m here for you. My staff is here for you.
Stay tuned for more.This entry was posted in Rediscover, Reinvent, Resources
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