Realtors offer disaster grants

Published 1:06 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Of course, Realtors sell homes, but it turns out they also help people stay in them.

The Realtors Relief Foundation is offering grants of $1,500 per qualified applicant to residents adversely affected by Hurricane Irene.

Grants are available for the monthly mortgage expenses of applicants whose homes were damaged by Irene or Tropical Storm Lee, and for temporary-shelter rentals for people displaced by the storms.

There are no income eligibility requirements, and people who have received or applied for government or private assistance are eligible to apply for foundation grants, related Diane Greene, director of community outreach for the North Carolina Association of Realtors.

The association partnered with its sister entities in New York, New Jersey and Vermont, plus the National Association of Realtors, to ensure funds and mechanisms would be in place to help storm victims, Greene explained.

“It’s the first time we’ve undertaken something of this magnitude,” she said.

The grant source is the Realtor Relief Foundation, a national foundation for disaster assistance that is part of the national Realtors association.

Anyone may make a tax-deductible donation to the foundation by visiting and clicking on the link labeled “Donate Online!”

“We just encourage people to apply,” Greene said. “We haven’t received as many applications as we expected. We think people are just hesitant to apply.”

The grants will be parceled out as long as funds are available, she said.

“We want to help homeowners and communities get back on their feet,” Greene said.