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Lending a Helping Hand to Hurricane Victims

Sept. 27, 2017

At press time, Texas was still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey while Florida, Georgia, and other southeastern states, in addition to islands in the Caribbean, were beginning the long road to recovery after the most powerful hurricane in recent history, Irma. Efforts to rebuild from both catastrophic events are projected to take months—probably even years.  

To help with these initiatives, interiors+sources did some research and reached out to industry members and groups to find out how they fared in the storm and what can be done to help. The efforts are seemingly endless, and the A&D world can, in fact, play a specific role in helping rebuild.

aia disaster assistance program

As noted by the AIA’s Disaster Assistance Program, Hurricane Harvey delivered more than 4 feet of water and almost complete devastation to the new space under construction for Architecture Center Houston in the historic 1906 B.A. Riesner building in downtown Houston. The building was within three weeks of completion when Harvey arrived and flood mitigation designed specifically for this type of event was not yet complete. 

Standard building insurance does not cover flood damage, and the risk policy carried by the contractor will cover some of the costs, but has a $100,000 deductible. Thus, Architecture Center Houston could use the industry’s help. All donations will be acknowledged on a special donor wall inside the new center. All donations are tax deductible and will go to the Architecture Center Houston Foundation, a 501c3 charitable institution whose mission is to educate the public on issues of architecture, urban planning, and design. Any additional funds will be directed to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the City of Houston.  

The AIA building Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training provides the specialized knowledge and technical skills to architects, engineers, and building inspectors needed to determine if a home or other building is safe and habitable. SAP-certified architects who are able to deploy to the Texas coast to perform building assessments as volunteers should visit surveymonkey.com/r/TxAharvey. For questions, email [email protected].

In response to Irma, an unprecedented 400-mile-wide Category 5 hurricane that called for the evacuation of millions of people, AIA chapters in the Southeast have well-equipped AIA Disaster Assistance programs with trained volunteers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina who are prepared for potential deployment to perform building safety assessments.  

Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Cuba have experienced devastating impacts where trees have downed power lines, and, in Puerto Rico, nearly 144,000 homes were destroyed. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, several critical facilities including hospitals, fire stations, and schools were severely damaged or completely destroyed. Recovery was halted in much of the Caribbean as it waited for more storms—Hurricanes Jose and Maria.


ASID Headquarters has been in contact with members of ASID chapters affected by Harvey, including Texas Gulf Coast (Houston), Texas, and South Central Chapter (Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) to find out the best ways to help in Houston and the surrounding area. The industry association recommends those who want to help refer to a list by the New York Times of reputable organizations working on hurricane relief efforts. These groups can be found in the article “Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams)” which ran on August 28, 2017. For a fast and easy way to donate $10 to the American Red Cross, text HARVEY to 90999.

In a recent post in response to both Harvey and Irma, ASID’s Charrisse Johnston suggests those in the design community read at least the synopsis of Perkins & Wills’ whitepaper, “Weathering the Storm: Mental Health and Resilient Design,” in addition to connecting with local and regional government task forces and boards to add the voice of interior designers to the policy discussions that affect all of us. To read Johnston’s complete message, visit asid.org/chairs-message-september-2017.


IIDA San Antonio City Center encourages local members to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Those organizations in need of donations include:

Please contact local IIDA chapters to find out more about helping those affected by Irma: Central Florida Chapter iidaflc.org; South Florida Chapter iidasfc.org; North Florida Chapter iida-nfc.org.


With many members’ businesses suffering losses due to Harvey, the National Kitchen+Bath Association (NKBA) has set up its own disaster relief fund. Its goal is to raise $1 billion, with NKBA matching donations up to $500,000. The group noted on its website: “Your contributions will go directly to helping our members get their businesses, livelihoods and lives back on track. Any funds not utilized by our members will be distributed to general relief agencies to assist the broader community.” Donations can be made at forms.nkba.org/harvey-relief.

For those in the affected area seeking assistance, a form can be completed at rms.nkba.org/hurricane-harvey-relief-fund-request/ or a direct, confidential email can be sent to Julie Figiel at [email protected]

in addition

To find out what individual industry figures and manufacturers are doing to help with hurricane relief efforts, and to learn more about which charitable organizations are in need after the storms, please visit interiorsandsources.com

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