Recently, I was in Joplin, Mo. to take part in the rebuilding effort after the city was devastated by a massive tornado on May 22. It cut such a wide swath of destruction that it was so hard to believe that minutes before the tornado touched down Joplin was a vibrant and bustling Midwestern town. Through the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, I was fortunate to see the very best of REALTORS® stepping up to help our fellow citizens during their hour of great need.
While I was there, I was reminded of the fact that Mother Nature can strike at any time, and in any fashion. Like tornadoes, floods can come out of nowhere and cause enormous damage and destruction to communities. In fact, floods cause more losses than any other type of natural disaster. I saw this firsthand with the flooding of the Missouri River, which occurred right here in June. I was so moved I wrote about it for the leadership blog then, and I am writing about it once again because I am so passionate about ensuring that Americans have protection and peace of mind when purchasing their portion of the American Dream of Home Ownership.
Throughout the U.S., there are over 10 million homes in floodplains known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). That’s about 8 percent of the housing units in the country. So you can see the potential for devastation to homes and to the entire housing market is huge.
That’s why it’s crucial to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire on Sept. 30. That’s right around the corner. If this happens, this would deny millions of people access to affordable flood insurance and delay or cancel home sale closings. Not something we can afford in this fragile market.
Each day that NFIP lapses it results in the delay or cancellation of 1,332 home sale closings nationwide. Each lapse would jeopardize closings across the nation — approximately 40,000 per month.
So our challenge is this: we must urge Congress to reauthorize NFIP. Since Congress is in recess, pay a visit to your Senator while they are at home and press them to reauthorize NFIP as soon as they get back to Washington, DC. If you can’t meet with them in person, make sure you respond online to the call for action to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program.