Winter Storm Provides Opportunity to Prove Grit, Help Tenants
by Holly Barr and Ginny Sutton, TSSA Staff
February 19, 2021
Texans are known for their grit. We pride ourselves on persevering through heat, drought, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.
And now we’ll add “ice and snow super storms” to the list. This 2021 weather event will be noted in our state history and will surely earn a footnote in future farmer’s almanacs. Heck, this storm even warranted a name—Uri. We aren’t used to having names for our little ice events.
Usually, our ice storms are short lived and for most of us, staying off the roads while they are happening is the only impact we experience. Snow is even rarer, but this event didn’t provide the fluffy white stuff of our dreams. Our typical ice storms don’t threaten the power grid for the state or leave thousands without power through rolling blackouts or even for three to four days. They also don’t leave the multitudes without water or scrambling to deal with water leaks from burst pipes. Those are typically isolated incidents, and sometimes we know one or two people who experienced that. This time, it’s all around us, or we are in the midst of it ourselves.
Experts are predicting that this event will break records for insurance claims totals, surpassing claims from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Events like this have at least one silver lining—they give all of us the chance to see what we’re made of and how tough we can be when it’s needed. Numerous times during the past week as our power was off—sometimes for more than 8-hour stretches—I found myself thinking, “Can you imagine what it was like to experience this kind of weather back when houses weren’t insulated, and electricity wasn’t in the picture?” Anytime I felt a bit whiny or was cold I would picture pioneer mothers with their children hunkered down inside of timber homes with gaps between the logs and my pity party would quickly dissipate.
In addition to being tough, our members are givers. A few of you have shared with us what you’re doing to help those in your communities, but we know there are countless others who’ve helped, too. Send us your stories, so we can continue to share and encourage each other. We sent out an email to members earlier this week with resources available on our website, in case you didn’t see it, you can go to our home page and you’ll find our link to disaster resources.
So, what’s next?
- Busted pipes
- Clean up
- Food and water needs
- Drinking water
- Waiting for plumbers or insurance adjustors
- Communal contempt for ERCOT (kidding, kind of)…
Maybe you’re wondering how you can help your tenants during this time? Some ideas…
- Do you have an extra case or two of water in storage? Can you share with your tenants when they come to the facility?
- Be prepared for people bringing in potentially wet items and have a script planned for how to tell them they need to dry them out before storing. Help your managers with resources.
- Do you have a plumber in your network? Can you ask them for advice to give your tenants while they are waiting for repairs? Anything to prevent further damage?
- Have numbers on hand for your city’s water and electric emergency numbers to share with tenants if they seem unsure.
- Homeowners and renters are encouraged to reach out to FEMA online at www.disasterassistance.gov or 800-621-3362 if they are in need.
- If you have the capacity, can you become an information hub for tenant needs and resources? Even a bulletin board outside? (“I have” or “I need” labels with notes and pens for posting, or business cards for contractors can be helpful.)
Did your office experience water damage? If you lost your printed leases or Goldbook
©, reach out, as we will replace those lost TSSA resources.
If TSSA can help at this time, please call or email and let us know what you need. We are still answering the phones at 888-259-4902 during regular business hours, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also continue to post helpful items to our website and social media platforms.
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