HAA's Katrina Response
Posted by Government Affairs
on Monday, August 27, 2012
Sometimes it is hard to remember what happened last week, let alone seven years ago. Today, we're taking time to remember an event that typified our members' commitment to quality rental housing in Houston.
Seven years ago, Hurricane Katrina rolled ashore. With her winds and waters, she swept unimaginable change into the communities along the Gulf Coast. Though Houston was not in her path of destruction, she affected our community, all the same.
On September 6, 2005, more than 250 HAA members attended an emergency meeting at City Hall with Mayor White's representatives concerning the Katrina Housing voucher program. The program, which would later be known as the Disaster Housing Assistance Program as it was transitioned to HUD, was little more than an idea at the time. The Mayor and his Deputy Chief of Staff John Walsh (now the Director of the Graduate Real Estate Program at the University of Houston) sought to create a short-term stabilizing program for victims of the hurricane, who had been relocated to Houston.
As a result of the meeting, 201 owners and companies signed letters of intent to set aside more than 10,000 units for the hurricane evacuees. In the end, more than 37,000 units were rented as a result of displacement by Hurricane Katrina.
The program did not make apartment owners rich, in fact it caused major financial hardship to some companies, as illustrated by this article by PolitiFact Texas.
However, the program showed the city and then nation that Houston's multifamily housing industry answers the calls of the needs of our community.
HAA owners rolled out the welcome mat, when families came to our city to seek help and shelter.
Well done HAA members. We're proud of you.
Here's the article about the fateful meeting that took place at Houston City Hall regarding the program.