Come see what’s happening in Baton Rouge! We have plenty of great Festivals and Celebrations for everyone to enjoy!
After historic floods ravaged parts of southern Louisiana over the weekend and left thousands evacuated, waters are beginning to recede and cleanup efforts are underway.
Many organizations are lending a helping hand with food, supplies and cleanup efforts. There are many ways you can support victims as they pick up the pieces and begin again.
Here are a few organizations that need your help as residents recover from what the American Red Cross calls the worst disaster since Hurricane Sandy.
American Red Cross
The Louisiana branch of the American Red Cross is providing meals and dozens of shelters for residents needing a safe place to sleep.
A detailed listing of the organization’s efforts, facilities and needs can be found here and you can contribute financially by either visiting here or by texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Salvation Army is working from its Baton Rouge facility to help those evacuated during the flood.
The organization has sent extra personnel to the area to provide mobile feeding units, hygiene kits and to help in cleanup efforts. You can volunteer or donate money to the Salvation Army’s Gulf Coast fund.
The United Way
Donations for flood relief can be made through the United Way of Southeast Louisiana website. They are also seeking volunteers.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans & Acadiana
This organization is seeking financial support as they distribute thousands of pounds of food, water and supplies to flood victims.
Convoy of Hope
This faith-based, nonprofit organization is providing food, water, equipment and relief supplies to southern Louisiana. You can donate here and specify that you would like your donation to go to the Louisiana August 2016 flood relief efforts.
Operation Blessing International
Operation Blessing International is another faith-based, nonprofit that has already deployed volunteers to help in cleanup efforts and reconstruction. For more on their relief efforts in Louisiana, you can find information here. If you’re interested in volunteering, email volunteer@OB.org and to offer financial support, you can donate here.
Louisiana State University’s Zeta Phi Beta sorority has a GoFundMe site, which is aiming to raise $10,000 and disburse it to students impacted by the flooding.
Save the Children
This organization that serves children and their families around the world is providing support to help with emergency assistance in flooding areas. To support their efforts, you can donate to the Gulf Coast Floods Children’s Relief Fund.
There are several animal shelters in the area that are seeking donations, volunteers and foster parents for hundreds of rescued pets, including Companion Animal Alliance, as well as a GoFundMe site for Denham Springs Animal Shelter.
Drop Off Items
If you live in the area, there are a number of places where you can drop off items like diapers, pillows, bedding, toiletries, clothing, car seats, mattresses, food, gift cards, stuffed animals, pet food and water bottles. See a full list of locations accepting donations here.
*information obtained from CNN.com and Weather.com
The catastrophic flood devastating Louisiana is now the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy four years ago, the Red Cross said.
“Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now,” said Brad Kieserman, the Red Cross’ vice president of disaster services operations and logistics.
“This disaster is the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy, and we anticipate it will cost at least $30 million — a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.”
6,900,000,000,000 gallons of rain in one week.
The calamity struck quickly and ferociously. In one part of Livingston Parish, more than 31 inches of rain fell in 15 hours.
Hopefully we can be of some help by passing on some more Flood Resources we have found:
- Travelers can find information regarding road closures by visiting www.511la.org or by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region where they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can access the system by calling 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).
- Office of the Governor disaster declared, http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/major-disaster-declared-for-the-state-of-louisiana-8-14-16, and, additional parishes added, http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/additional-parishes-added-to-federal-disaster-declaration-8-16-16.
- FEMA Disaster Assistance, http://gohsep.la.gov/Portals/0/Documents/1-800_Flier_Eng.pdf, and, Louisiana Flood Resources on FEMA’s home page, http://www.fema.gov/.
- SBA Assistance to Louisiana Businesses and Residents affected by severe storms and flooding, https://www.lsbdc.org/resources/?p=1849.
- Louisiana Business and Technology Center’s Assistance for Businesses document is attached.
- How to Apply for help when you don’t have flood insurance, http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_afe2af4a-6300-11e6-b158-5f6c38d58837.html?sr_source=lift_amplify.
- FDIC Financial Institution Letter 54-2016, Regulatory Relief Guidance to Help Financial Institutions and to Facilitate Recovery in Areas of Louisiana Affected by Severe Storms and Flooding, https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2016/fil16054.html.
- OCC guidance, http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2016/nr-occ-2016-94.html.
- Office of Financial Institutions Emergency Declaration and Emergency Guidance, http://www.ofi.la.gov/, listed under Depository tab.
Many Bankers have asked how they can help. Here are a couple:
- Baton Rouge area charitable organizations, https://www.businessreport.com/article/local-charitable-organizations-offer-variety-ways-help-flood-victims?utm_campaign=dr_pm-2016_Aug_15-15_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dr_pm.
- Lafayette area charitable organizations, https://donate.unitedwayofacadiana.org/page/contribute/greater-acadiana-united-ways-disaster-fund.
The devastation of the flood of 2016 to Baton Rouge and surrounding areas has been high. Many homes have been destroyed and many are homeless. Some help is on the way from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) but it is hard to wade through who and what is eligible. Hopefully we can shed a bit of light in the darkness.
Determining Eligible Benefits
- This questionnaire helps you determine what benefits you may be eligible for: https://www.disasterassistance .gov/get-assistance/find- assistancehis is the hyperlink to FEMA’s IHP Applicant’s Guide. The first few pages give a nice summary of eligible v. ineligible losses, etc. I’ve also attached it in PDF format. http://www.fema.gov/pdf/assist ance/process/help_after_disast er_english.pdf
- Online Application Process. This link takes you to the online application process.
- https://www.disasterassistance .gov/DAC/govBenefitReceiver. do?gbsessionid=0&action=RI&lan gcode=EN
Information for Online Application:
You’ll need to have the following information handy to apply online:
- Social Security number
- Family’s gross total household income at time of disaster;
- Contact information
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Direct Deposit Information (could facilitate quick transfer of funds)
- FEMA Evacuee Hotel List: (Note: you’ll need to select Louisiana before hitting submit to search) http://www.femaevachot els.com/index.php
FEMA’s IHP Program Summary
Before you apply for FEMA’s IHP Program online, it may be helpful to know what benefits you are eligible for:
The following are not eligible losses under the IHP:
- IHP will not cover all of your losses from damage to your property (home, personal property, household goods) that resulted from the disaster.
- IHP is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster.
- In some cases, IHP may only provide enough money, up to the program limits, for you to return an item to service. IHP does not cover business‐related losses that resulted from the disaster.
- By law, IHP cannot provide money to you for losses that are covered by your insurance.
- While some money is available through IHP, most disaster aid from the Federal government is in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that must be repaid. Applicants to IHP may be required to seek help from SBA first, before being considered for certain types of IHP help. You do not have to submit an SBA loan application to be considered for FEMA rental assistance
The following types of assistance are available through the IHP:
- Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
- Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
- Replacement: Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
- Permanent/Semi Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
- Other Needs: Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law.
To receive money or help for Housing Needs that are the result of a disaster, all of the following must be true:
- You have filed for insurance benefits and the damage to your property is not covered by your insurance. You may be eligible for help from IHP to repair damage to your property.
- You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non‐citizen national, or a qualified alien.
- Your home is in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
- The home in the disaster area is where you usually live the majority of the year.
- You are not able to live in your home now, you cannot get to your home due to the disaster, or your home requires repairs because of damage from the disaster.
To receive money for Needs Other than Housing that are the result of a disaster, all of the following must be true:
- You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President.
- You have filed for insurance benefits and the damage to your personal property is not covered by your insurance. You may be eligible for help from IHP to repair damage to your property.
- You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non‐citizen national, or a qualified alien.
- You have necessary expenses or serious needs because of the disaster.
- You have accepted assistance from all other sources for which you are eligible, such as insurance proceeds or SBA loans.
You may not be eligible for money or help from IHP if:
- You have other, adequate rent‐free housing that you can use (for example, rental property that is not occupied).
- Your home that was damaged is your secondary or vacation residence.
- Your expenses resulted only from leaving your home as a precaution and you were able to return to your home immediately after the incident.
- You have refused assistance from your insurance provider(s).
- Your only losses are business losses (including farm business other than the farmhouse and self‐employment) or items not covered by this program.
- The damaged home where you live is located in a designated flood hazard area and your community is not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. In this case, the flood damage to your home would not be covered, but you may qualify for rental assistance or items not covered by flood insurance, such as water wells, septic systems, medical, dental, or funeral expenses.
This is a hyperlink to the National Flood Insurance Agent Locator website:https://www.floodsmart .gov/floodsmart/pages/choose_ your_policy/agent_locator.jsp
Types of Eligible Losses
IHP only covers repairs or replacement of items that are damaged as a direct result of the disaster that are not covered by insurance. Repairs or rebuilding may not improve your home above its pre‐disaster condition unless such improvements are required by current building codes.
Housing Needs: Money to repair your home is limited to making your home safe and sanitary so you can live there. IHP will not pay to return your home to its condition before the disaster. You may use your money provided for housing needs to repair:
- Structural parts of your home (foundation, outside walls, and roof).
- Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, and cabinetry.
- Septic or sewage system.
- Well or other water system.
- Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system.
- Utilities (electrical, plumbing, and gas systems).
- Entrance and exit ways from your home, including privately owned access roads.
- Blocking, leveling, and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines, and tanks.
Other than Housing Needs: Money to repair damaged personal property or to pay for disaster‐related necessary expenses and serious needs is limited to items or services that help prevent or overcome a disaster‐related hardship, injury or adverse condition. IHP will not pay to return or replace your personal property to its condition before the disaster. You may use your money provided for other than housing needs to repair or pay for:
- Disaster‐related medical and dental costs.
- Disaster‐related funeral and burial cost.
- Clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, and supplies).
- Fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas, firewood).
- Disaster‐specified clean‐up items (wet/dry vacuum, air purifier, and dehumidifier).
- A vehicle damaged by the disaster.
- Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster‐related repairs are being made to the home).
- Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.
*Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Most of this is taken from FEMA’s IHP Applicant’s Guide
Can you believe it is time for the kids to be back in school? Summer always goes by way too fast. In order to keep up with what is happening this year, we have posted the 2016-2017 School Calendar for East Baton Rouge. We hope you enjoy it.
If you would like to have a pdf of your very own to print out and keep handy for the year, feel free to click here to download one with our compliments!
Popular Social Media Sites (and what it means in Real Estate)
What is Facebook? Facebook is probably the most popular social networking site on the Internet. Used by people around the world, Facebook allows users to make posts, share pictures and videos, and overall connect with friends, family and communities via the Internet. Facebook allows users to get direct access to information via posts by people in their groups. If you’re utilizing Facebook for real estate marketing, you have the ability to post listings, property pictures and other information that users will find immediately helpful. Not only that, but with the fact that Facebook users are all somehow connected via friends and groups, your listing can be shared beyond your immediate group of contacts, making Facebook a great word-of-mouth marketing tool.
The most common age group of Facebook users is 25 to 34; many people who use Facebook will be interested in real estate or know someone who is. Facebook also allows users to share information about their communities and neighborhoods that might not be found on a website (because it comes directly from the people living in the community), so the amount of info that can be accessed via Facebook is almost limitless.
What is Twitter? Twitter is an online social networking site that is also used by people around the world. The draw of Twitter is that it’s a rolling conversation: it’s fast-paced and posts are limited to 140 characters or less. Users have the ability to post pictures, videos and links to other media or websites that can be readily accessed by their followers. Twitter is also an excellent marketing medium because it has a great search function: if you’re looking for information about a certain city, community or neighborhood, it’s likely you’ll be able to find Twitter conversations (or ‘tweets’) with relevant information and responses.
Marketing with Twitter requires a lot of engagement on both sides of the coin. Because Twitter conversations are constant, the more effort that’s put forth on Twitter means the greater the reach of your posts and the people who will receive your information. Twitter is a great tool in that users have the ability to attach hashtags, or #, to apply keywords or phrases to a post. This allows for greater reach, as anyone can search for a keyword or phrase, meaning the number of people that can find your post is only limited to the total number of Twitter users.
Instagram and Pinterest
Instagram and Pinterest are both online social networking services that rely heavily on images. Instagram users share photos and videos, either their own or those of others, and Pinterest is an application that allows users to share those pictures or compile them together into “pin boards.” The benefit in both of these social media sites is the ability for users to share media – whether it is pictures or videos. People in general crave visuals – we are visual beings, especially when it comes to homes and properties. Visuals have been found to create and boost user engagement, and both Instagram and Pinterest are an excellent way to showcase a listing’s pictures and information. Both are also great tools for anyone looking for ideas on curb appeal, ways to stage a home, or even those looking for ideas on updating a property to get it ready to sell.
Social media has become a way of life in our ever changing, technological world. Real estate is a competitive market for both buyers and sellers, and social media is a great, readily available tool for anyone interested in real estate to utilize to their benefit. Check out some of these sites and see the endless possibilities of social media and real estate.
As always, contact us if you are looking to sell your home! We always use state of the art marketing including social media to sell your home!
Social media has become a way of life in our country over the past decade. With more and more people using sites like Facebook, and applications like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, having a presence on social media is almost an absolute must. But what is social media? We hear that term a lot, especially on the news and in public places. Social media is those websites and applications that give users the opportunity to create and share content for the sole purpose of social networking, or communicating with others. Social media allows people and communities to connect in ways they were unable to in the past, paving the way for new or renewed connections.
While many think social media is only an option for those looking to share family photos or cat videos, social media has opened the door to new marketing opportunities, especially when it comes to real estate. Whether a buyer, seller, or real estate agent, social media is an excellent tool to get the word out about properties, and should you be considering a real estate search soon, don’t forget to look to social media for more ways to market your property or find your dream home.
With all the social media sites that abound at this time, what about the large sites as well? Sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow?
They will always have their place as people love to look up homes on these sites and with their apps for your smartphone, they make it simple as pie.
But this post it truly about social media and all the different tools that abound in today’s market. Tools that are like kicking your feet back and having a group of friends over to see your fabulous home (or to find YOUR dream home) and a wonderful cup of coffee or glass of wine.
Next week we will delve in the most dominant social media sites and how they differ and just how they will help you and your realtor sell or find you a home.
Parents of grown children, please sit down. I have some harsh news for you.
Your kids don’t want your stuff. Don’t take it personally. It’s not that they don’t love you. They don’t love your furniture.
The china hutch, the collectible figurines, your antique map or thimble collection, the sideboard, all those family treasures may hold many precious moments for you, but for your kids, not so much.
Ouch. Yes, I know you think you’re being generous. Yes, I know you paid good money for these things. Yes, I know kids can seem unappreciative. Yes, I know it was part of your family’s history. And, yes, I know it still contains some useful life.
I also know that deep down, you believe your kids will change their minds.
That is pure fantasy.
This topic hits home, so to speak. That became clear last week when, at a book signing and author chat for my new book, “Downsizing the Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go,” the subject stirred up a fine fuss.
Read the rest of the article here
Story by Marni Jameson
Special to NOLA.com| The Times-Picayune
Who does not love St. Paddy’s day? Filled with all the shenanigans and fun one can muster. This year though has been a bit wetter then usual and many have asked if there truly will be a St. Paddy’s day parade at all. We have great news! Looks like it will go off without a hitch and tons of plans have been made in case the weather gets too “drizzly”.
WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Starting at Hundred Oaks Avenue and South Acadian Thruway, Baton Rouge (see accompanying map)
ON TV: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., WBTR, Channel 41 (cable Channel 19) and WBRZ.com, with repeats on WBTR at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; noon and 7 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Thursday (St. Patrick’s Day).
UP TO DATE INFO: paradegroup.com or facebook.com/IrishParade. Hope to see you there!