NAR offers help for Illinois tornado victims too

Illini Valley CEO Gail Pyszka and Ottawa REALTOR® Katie Troccoli were two of the volunteers helping tornado victims near Ottawa in early March. Others included Andrea Greenwalt, Linda Taglia, Alice Green, Tom Guttilla and Dara Weikel.

Starting immediately, Illinois’ late February-early March tornado victims can apply for up to $1,500 in housing relief assistance from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) REALTOR® Relief Foundation, too.

REALTORS® can share this application with tornado victims whose primary residence has been affected by tornado damage. Victims can use the assistance to make a monthly mortgage payment or to pay for temporary shelter.  The maximum available amount is $1,500 per applicant, per household.

The deadline for application submission is July 1, 2017.

Your state association helps too

This financial assistance is in addition to money available to Illinois tornado victims through the Illinois REALTOR® Relief Fund (IRRF). The IRRF offers a maximum of $500 per application, with the money to be used for documented housing, subsistence, and other needs such as assistance with insurance deductible. Applicants must be full-time Illinois residents who meet program criteria. Assistance is needs-based and grants are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Members of the Illini Valley Association of REALTORS® (IVAR) helped staff the Multi Agency Resource Center in Ottawa in the days and weeks following the tornadoes, passing out IRRF applications for disaster relief and Wal-Mart gift cards to victims whose homes were severely damaged in the storms. IVAR CEO Gail Pyszka says the generosity of REALTORS® around the state has been appreciated.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support by both our community and the surrounding area association members,” she says.

The IRRF has received 27 applications for assistance so far says Cathy Madaus, Illinois REALTORS® Director of Operations, and liaison for the IRRF.

The National Weather Service confirmed six tornadoes in northern Illinois the evening of Feb. 28, including EF-3 tornadoes that hit Ottawa, the nearby village of Naplate and Washburn, northeast of Peoria. Two Ottawa men died from injuries after a tree fell during the storm. Another man died in the southern Illinois town of Crossville, in White County, near the Indiana state line.

Damage was heaviest in Naplate and on the south side of Ottawa, with one fourth of Naplate’s 200 homes damaged.

One of the first local associations to offer assistance to the area was the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® delivering $500 of gift cards to the relief efforts. However, since then, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and the Heartland REALTOR® Organization have given $1,000 and $500 to IRRF, says Madaus. REALTORS® who would like to donate money to IRRF online can do so via debit card, credit card or PayPal account. Go here to donate.


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