By Ryan Velez
Hurricane Irma is currently coming to a close, but this is little comfort to the dozens of lives that have been lost and billions in damage done to both Florida and Southeast Texas from Hurricane Harvey. As we have mentioned in past coverage of the hurricanes and the recovery process, this has led a massive amount of generosity of people from all walks of life, and Black Enterprise reports that the Black business community is also stepping in, with National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) launching its NAMAD Disaster Relief Fund to assist employees and families of NAMAD Dealer members in Texas and Florida.
As of right now, NAMAD is trying to raise $1 million by calling on all its dealer members to contribute $2,000 for each dealership they own. By all accounts, it looks like its goal will be hit, and possibly then some. “The response has been amazing,” said NAMAD Chairman Irving Matthews in a press release. “We have already collected more than $400,000 towards our goal of raising $1 million. Even our dealerships in the affected areas have donated, despite the potential for huge financial losses. All of the monies raised will be distributed to NAMAD Member Dealer employees and their families to help them deal with the loss of income, housing and stability hurricanes Harvey and Irma have created. Like millions of Americans coast to coast, we’ve made a commitment to help those in need, and help jumpstart the rebuilding process.”
In addition, NAMAD also asks for “the insurance industry to be expedient in processing claims for losses during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said NAMAD President Damon Lester.
“Texas and Florida represent two major markets for new vehicle sales in the U.S., and NAMAD and others are doing our part to assist those in need. If all companies that support the automobile industry react and respond with immediacy and purpose, we can, more quickly, put Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the history books,” Lester added.
This could not come at a more needed time. According to AccuWeather President Joel Myers, the damage estimate from Irma will cost about $100 billion in Florida, while Harvey is estimated to cost $190 billion in Texas, making it the costliest weather disaster on record. In addition, in Houston, Harvey destroyed 500,000 vehicles in a city where 95% of the population owes a vehicle.