BOMA International extends its thoughts and prayers to the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Houston BOMA has established a GoFundMe account to help Houston BOMA members who have lost their homes and belongings in the flood. The proceeds received will go directly to Houston BOMA members to assist in putting their lives back together. Houston BOMA has donated the first $10,000 to the account. To donate, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/houston-boma-member-relief.
BOMA International is in contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to gather any information that may be helpful to our members. Ken Rosenfeld, Director of State and Local Affairs, has been participating in daily Critical Infrastructure Stakeholder conference calls with DHS. Of particular note, it is anticipated that “reentry” will become a serious obstacle—it will be difficult to determine the protocols to check on buildings once the storm is over. Since Texas is a “home rule” state, all authority resides with the local jurisdictions, meaning that there may be unique protocols for each jurisdiction. DHS is preparing a list of the local contacts and protocols. BOMA International will post this information to its website once it becomes available.
BOMA International also is assisting the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with their relief efforts. ALAN is seeking donated warehouse space, with priority requests for 10,000 square feet in San Antonio and Austin to support shelters, and another 50,000 to 100,000 in Houston for the Red Cross. FEMA is seeking housing in the Houston area for incoming staff and responders. They are looking for accessible buildings of at least 10,000 square feet, with room to park vehicles, in Houston, Wharton, Brazoria County and Nueces County. The buildings can be “bare-bones,” as FEMA will provide cots, blankets, sanitary facilities and whatever else is needed. Also, the FEMA logistics team is looking for a large, accessible warehouse space of approximately 100,000 square feet in any of the above locations. We have contacted the BOMA local associations in Texas to spread the word to their members about both these requests.
In a related matter, this natural disaster underscores the importance of advocating for a responsible and robust National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Earlier this year, BOMA International created the following policy position:
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International urges the federal government to implement policies that ensure that all commercial property owners have the ability to obtain flood insurance for their properties at reasonable and affordable rates. BOMA supports efforts from Congress to ensure the long term viability of the National Flood Insurance Program. BOMA also supports initiatives that expand the private insurance market and improve the accuracy of flood mapping.
BOMA’s advocacy team is working with members of Congress to ensure that this important program is reauthorized, especially in light of the damage from Hurricane Harvey.
Lastly, BOMA International has a number of resources available on the website, which may be accessed here.