My Response to Haiti
Like most Canadians, I have been watching the news and updates surrounding the earthquake in Haiti with a sense of shock and sadness. The images and scenes are horrific and overwhelming. And like most Canadians, I feel like it is my responsibility to do something to help.
The immediate needs are obvious: people need food, shelter and water desperately. I have faith in the International Community to provide for these basic needs in the weeks to come. But when the dust settles and all the bodies are buried, Haiti will need to literally rebuild itself. This will take years and probably hundreds ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â millions of dollars.
This is why I have decided that for the next 30 days, for every client of mine who buys or sells a property, I will donate $1 for every $1000 spent to a charity of their choice to help the relief efforts in Haiti. For example, a purchase/sale of a $300,000 condo will mean a $300 donation. The charity must be directly involved on the ground with the relief work that is happening in Haiti. And to be clear, the donation will be made in the name of the buyer/seller – so there is no financial benefit for me personally.
I realize this will be more of a gesture of good will than any major significant contribution to the cause, but I feel like I have to do something more than just give personally, and I see an opportunity here for my business (helping people buy and sell real estate) to do some good.
And just a thought to all the Toronto Realtors out there who are reading this blog: if you want to join with me and do the same with your clients, I think that would be great. With a little momentum, we could start to make a significant difference. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Update 1: 24 Hours after posting this I am happy to announce that 3 other Realtors have joined in the cause. Katy Galica of Re/Max Condos Plus, Kenny Shim of Re/Max Condos Plus, and Mark Savel of Re/Max Realtron.
Update 2: I’ve joined the Toronto Works For Haiti team. Toronto Works for Haiti is a collective of Toronto area small business owners who are offering services in exchange for donations to the relief efforts in Haiti. It’s all about raising money and awareness for Haiti so I am all for pooling resources and joining this group.
I would like to highlight one organization’s efforts in Haiti: Habitat for Humanity.
HabitatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s early response to the earthquake is threefold:
To clear the way for home repair and construction, Habitat will assist in the cleanup by mobilizing people to remove debris and salvage materials that can be recycled in new shelter.
- Shelter kits
Shelter kits include building materials and tools and are designed to help families and neighborhoods make immediate repairs to damaged homes. The kits typically include items such as wall panels, roofing sheets, hurricane straps and a hammer and nails. Habitat also has a cadre of certified masons and carpenters to assist families with immediate repairs.
- Transitional shelter
Small transitional shelters can be built quickly and provide permanent base structures that can be expanded over time. The shelters will meet humanitarian standards of adequate living space and provision of water and sanitation. The structures will also be designed with hurricane- and earthquake-resistant features
Other organizations who were very active in Haiti before the earthquake and will be there for years to come include:
Consider giving to one or more of these organizations if you have not already.