SOURCE: Neighborworks America

June 25, 2012 15:19 ET

NeighborWorks America Offers Tips as Hurricane Season Begins

Top Affordable Housing Organization Urges Homeowners and Renters to Anticipate Severe Weather

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Jun 25, 2012) - Today NeighborWorks America urged individuals and families to prepare their homes and neighborhoods for potential hurricanes, as the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins.

NeighborWorks America, which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities, offered storm preparation recommendations to renters and current homeowners. NeighborWorks America supports a network of more than 235 nonprofits, located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that offer free and low-cost advisory services to thousands of individuals and families.

"Particularly during times of severe weather, neighbors should look out for each other and practice a sense of community," said Eileen Fitzgerald, NeighborWorks America CEO. "NeighborWorks America empowers individuals and their families by helping them prepare their neighborhoods for potential devastating weather, and protect these neighborhoods before, during, and after these challenging times."

1. Anticipate dangerous weather affecting your neighborhood.
Have a disaster-supply kit ready for you and your family to use. If you need assistance creating a kit, contact Donna Darensbourg, Coordinator of Training and Education at NeighborWorks America member organization Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans at 504-899-5900 extension 114 or Stay informed so you're aware at all times of the situation and threats you may encounter.

2. Make a plan to evacuate. Ensure that everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Practice your evacuation route, write it down, and give every family member a copy. Lock up your home, take all of your medications with you, and take your pets with you.

3. Be a good neighbor, particularly during times of severe weather.
Think of the elderly, physically disabled, and others in your immediate area who may need assistance evacuating their homes. If the power goes out, some neighbors may need guidance on what immediate steps to take and how to stay calm. Check in with your neighbors to see where you can lend a hand. Do they have the food, water and resources they need?

4. Make sure you have renters' or homeowners' insurance. Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, ensure that you have purchased homeowner's or renter's insurance. Find out how to purchase both types of insurance from a local NeighborWorks Homeownership Center. A list of Homeownership Centers can be found at

5. Put all important financial documents in one place that you can get to easily and take them with you in case of a severe weather emergency. If possible, make electronic copies and email them to yourself in case paper documents are destroyed in a disaster. In addition, consider sending copies to a family member out of town as a precaution. A copy of your home's deed should be among these important papers. A deed will make it easier for you to prove your house is yours in the event that public records are inaccessible or destroyed in severe weather. Take photos of all valuables.

NeighborWorks America member organizations are working to ensure that homeowners are safe during hurricane season. For example, every home that Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (Fort Lauderdale, FL) constructs has impact-resistant glass and is built to withstand winds of 130 mph. Also, Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) (New Orleans, LA) designs and builds homes to sustain winds in excess of 130 mph and include impact-resistant windows.

NeighborWorks America has responded to the destruction caused in the Gulf Coast region by the hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 on the principle of rebuilding "from the neighborhoods up." Modeled upon the organization's more than 30 year history of supporting community-based partnerships, the rebuilding initiative supports the foundations of neighborhood rebuilding -- the families, organizations, and homes that make up these neighborhoods. NeighborWorks America assists organizations with grants and investments that support building or rehabilitation of affordable homes in the region, and from 2006 to 2011 NeighborWorks America's direct investment of $12 million helped leverage more than $788 million in construction and lending resources.

About NeighborWorks America
NeighborWorks America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

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