After the Storms: A Harvey and Irma Update from Our CEO
We have a very long road to recovery ahead for both Texas and Florida, for those of us affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While Irma is fresh on our minds, we must maintain our awareness and persist in our support of our colleagues and residents. Parts of the Texas coast, including Rockport, were completely devastated and still do not have electricity. Communities are still flooded in Houston.
There is no better team than ours—many having lived through, and rebuilt communities from, Andrew, Katrina, Alberta fires, Super Storm Sandy and now Harvey and Irma, we know how to make a difference in our communities, through our people and leaders. From disciplined planning and preparation to recovery and working with insurance to help communities rebuild, we will continue to live our values every day, in the best interests of those we serve.
In the aftermath of the storms, there are tangible examples of our industry leadership, and in particular, why our ability to immediately leverage the depth of resources we have at our disposal is such a powerful differentiator for us. Here are a few examples of how we leveraged our resources, organization-wide, to ensure seamless service delivery for our clients.
- Irma impacted operations of our Hollywood, Florida, Customer Care Center, forcing us to close down for four days. Without missing a beat, Steven Parker, president of Nevada, offered up several of his community management associates to take on shifts at the NV Care Center. Many others worked multiple shifts to fill in. Thanks to their willingness to be genuinely helpful, our residents were able to receive the high level of customer service they expect from us even during this disaster.
- In the aftermath of Harvey, our Houston team was challenged to get their client financial statements prepared on time, due to the displacement of accounting staff. Fortunately, several of our accountants in other regions volunteered to take on these financial reports and were able to produce more than 100 financial reports on time.
- Through our affiliate, FirstService Financial, we established two separate $10 million emergency funds for associations to obtain short-term loans to begin critical property repairs while they wait for insurance claims to be settled.
We are receiving a constant stream of messages praising our pre-, during, and post-storm efforts to prevent damage to properties and keep residents informed of the status of their communities. Our teams are acknowledged for the speed with which they have engaged resources to clear hazards and debris from our communities to ensure the safety of residents within them. None of this would be possible without the fortitude of our people and the extensive in-house expertise we are able to draw upon from across the company.
No other company in our industry has the capacity to help at a local level from anywhere in North America. Nor can any organization match the outpouring of support and gratitude for being part of an organization with a culture like FirstService Residential. It is incredibly clear to me, from my personal experiences over the past four weeks, how much pride truly lives in our associates.
- Associates from every region have contributed almost 4,000 hours (equivalent to almost 400 working days) of PTO time our associates in affected areas to take advantage of.
- Well over 100 people have donated about $19,000 to the American Red Cross, which is being matched by FirstService Residential, in addition to the $100,000 already contributed by the company.
- One of the important benefits we provide is our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling services. Our EAP has proven helpful to our co-workers and also to our families, who have experienced tremendous stress. This program is available to ALL associates who might be struggling with stress at work, seeking financial or legal advice or coping with any situation.
We will continue to keep you informed of developments in these regions and how we can all continue to support our fellow teams.
Thank you all so very much for your thoughts, prayers and contributions.