On April 27, a half-mile-wide tornado cut a path through the heart of Alabama, killing 41 in Tuscaloosa alone and injuring thousands across the state. In a single day 173 tornadoes ripped through the region, killing nearly 300 people and destroying thousands of homes.
FEMA, The National Guard, the Red Cross, even Charlie Sheen, the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees have pitched in to help.
Home Builders across the state have stepped up, too. Thousands of builders helped in the aftermath, donating time and equipment for search and rescue efforts.
The Home Builders Association of Alabama, which is the statewide organization that works with 27 local HBAs, is serving as a resource center to help coordinate the rebuilding effort.
“We have been at the forefront since the day of the event,” says Alabama HBA Executive Vice President W. Russell Davis, CAE, BIAE. “We have worked closely with FEMA and state EMA officials, and we’re training our members to help builders navigate the insurance adjuster world, so they can be a resource for the homeowner.”
Russell says 44 of 67 counties in Alabama have been affected by the tornadoes. Rebuilding is going to take time, particularly in northern Alabama; and the members of the HBA of Alabama are committed to helping their friends and neighbors rebuild, he says.
In partnership with Alabama’s Attorney General, the HBA has distributed 30,000 brochures and helped produce a radio ad to let homeowners know how they can find reputable builders to help recover.
Russell also says the HBA of Alabama is designing and producing media for the local associations based on what’s needed in each community.
“We have provided direct monetary support for public affairs efforts at the local level,” he says. “Our local chapters tell us what they need, and we help pay for it. We’re helping them in the way they need. They know what they need better than us, so we’re asking them and supporting them.”
The HBA’s website, also features a Disaster Recovery page, which includes the following documents, among others:
- A Storm Recovery Guide;
- How to Prevent Home Repair Fraud;
- Cleaning Carpets and Floors After a Storm or Flood;
- When Disaster Strikes, Be Ready; and
- Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home.
You can visit the HBA’s Disaster Recovery page here.
The HBA of Alabama has been serving builder and associate members, and the citizens of Alabama for more than 50 years. The association has more than 2,000 builder members and more than 6,000 associate members. There are 27 local HBAs across the state.
Even without the challenge or recovering from the deadliest tornado season in history, Alabama has seen the same economic hardships affecting the rest of the country over the last three years.
Russell is optimistic about the future, however, and the members of the HBA of Alabama are working together to serve the state’s housing needs as it recovers from the storm and resumes a normal growth pattern.
“Things stink less than they used to,” he says, “but they still stink. That’s the brutal truth. Most people in the industry say the foreclosures have crested, and we’re poised for growth.”
Russell says sustainable growth will come once banks start making loans, the employment picture improves, and people start to gain confidence in a home as an investment.
“We’re lucky in that we have pockets of activity,” he says. “Our remodeling industry remains strong. Our membership remains strong, especially considering what we have been through.”
“We’ve got a lot to be thankful for,” he says. “This industry has been through arguably its toughest time ever, and we’ve lost a lot of good people. But this industry has been a resilient one, and I expect it to come back with a vengeance.”Share