President’s Report: Rebuilding Communities When Disaster Strikes

As President of the FHBA, I sincerely hope this morning’s e-mail finds you well following Hurricane Irma. As members of the building industry, we are the go-to’s for rebuilding communities when disaster strikes, yet you are not immune from the perils of a hurricane. We know all too well the importance of helping members first so they are better equipped to help their community. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who struggle to return to normalcy.

Here are a few things we know about the aftermath as it relates to our FHBA:

  1. The Florida Building Code appears to have done its job. Though the forensic audit has not even begun, early reports indicate that newer construction performed well. All the more reason to move away from a code development process that requires us to begin with weakened wind-load and water intrusion standards.
  2. The infrastructure for most all of our locals appears to have survived the storm. The GOBA Building did have tree fall on it, but their members and Executive Staff are working to re-establish a sense of order. The Lee and Collier group (as of Friday) are still working without internet, power and other essentials. Hang in there guys!
  3. Thanks to the leadership of our State Executive Officer Council Chair, Donna Barrett of Charlotte-DeSoto BA, local Executive Officers are communicating with one another and working to share information. Likewise our state FHBA Office is working to assist our locals in any way possible. Click here to view the FHBA consumer oriented video on how to avoid scams.
  4. NAHB was an invaluable resource as Irma approached; helping us prepare for the aftermath by crafting a series of PSA’s for each local area. Click here for those PSAs.
  5. Governor Scott announced Friday that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. To complete an application by the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For more information contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.
  6. DEO also has launched the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program to provide assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To file for DUA or for more information go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.
  7. FHBA Senior Officers and others are designing a Hurricane Rebuild Effort, focusing on how FHBA and our locals can best funnel contributions to help our community rebuild. We will reach out to you soon for donations.
  8. The FHB PAC HuntRaiser at the prestigious Gilchrist Hunt Club is cancelled. Though FHBA will continue to be diligent in our advocacy efforts, additional monies is best suited for efforts like the one mentioned above. Thank you to Centricity for offering to partner with us on this event!

While our members’ and local organizations’ efforts towards a successful rebuild are endless, we hope next week’s e-mail finds each of us in a better place.