Giving Maui wildfire donations more punch 

Jan Stapleton - 2023 NETAR President

 The heartbreak and horror of the Maui wildfire play out on every media broadcast. At the same time, some reports are focusing on how islanders have stepped up and added to the disaster relief efforts. The Realtors® Relief Foundation (RRF) is proud to be part of that relief effort. 

023 NETAR President
Association Spokesperson

In Mid-August, the foundation announced $1.5 million has been made available to the Hawaii Realtors®. Those funds will go to assist disaster victims’ housing payments as the relief as recovery efforts continue. 

“Maui’s recent wildfires have deeply impacted its residents, and we stand by them during this challenging time,” said RRF President Mike McGrew. “RRF grants aim to ease the path towards recovery, offering tangible aid to those rebuilding their lives. As real estate agents, we recognize that unity and community spirit are invaluable, especially when facing such trying circumstances.” 

Since 2001, RRF has disbursed more than $40 million in aid to over 20,000 families nationwide. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) covers all administrative costs, ensuring 100% of all funds collected are distributed directly to disaster relief causes. 

RRF is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit that exists to provide financial housing help to the public after disasters. In its 20 years of existence, more than $40 million in aid has helped over 20,000 families. RRF is supported by the Realtor® organization family. Local and state Realtor® associations partner with RRF as they mobilize the Realtors® in their locale to assist those in need.  

The Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors® (NETAR) members have – as they have n the past – stepped up with new donations to help the wildfire victims. But you don’t have to be a Realtor® the donate. Nonmembers who recognize the power of having 100% of their donation got to victims can be part of the relief efforts. 

Anyone can donate to RRF by using the same outlets that members use. Donations can be made online at Checks can also be sent to Realtor® Relief Foundation, 430 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Il. 60611. 

According to early news reports, a damage assessment from the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and FEMA, Maui Couty experienced $5.52 billion in “capital exposure,” which is the estimated cost to rebuild following damage the by Lahina Fire. 

Shortly after those reports, FEMA said the figure is not accurate and that it is still too early to determine the cost of rebuilding, according to CNN. More than 2,200 buildings were damaged or destroyed and 2,170 acres have burned because of the Lahaina Fire, according to the PDC and FEMA. 

The structure of the Lahaina properties, combined with the hurricane-force winds and deadly gusts, allowed the firestorm to decimate the area’s buildings. 

Thomas Jeffery, CoreLogic’s principal wildfire scientist, said many of the Lahaina residential properties in Lahaina had had wood siding, and some had elevated porches with a lattice underneath. Both are characteristics that make the residence very vulnerable to direct flame ignition.  

However, the full extent of the damage is still unknown. It will take “some time” to figure that out, CoreLogic emphasized.  

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