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Texas wildfires leave hundreds homeless, how Realtors are helping victims to find shelter

Texas is on fire, hundreds of homes are gone

While you’ve all heard that Texas, most specifically Austin is experiencing its worst wildfires in history during one of the state’s worst droughts in history, many are now asking what is next, now that some areas are allowing homeowners to return to their houses? Where does everyone go while they wait on FEMA and insurance to get sorted out? Some people have family to stay with, and many of us (AGBeat is headquartered in Austin) have full houses, there are families who are new to the area or simply have nowhere to stay. Texas is notoriously a friendly state, and many are opening their doors to the fire victims.

The Austin Board of Realtors has sent out an emergency bulletin to its members detailing what homeowners need to do right away and asking any Realtors who are aware of property owners offering free or substantially discounted properties to fire evacuees to enter “TXFIRE” in the Agent Remarks field of the MLS listing to make them easier to identify. The Board’s search portal does not allow consumers to search Agent Remarks, so locals in search of temporary shelter can connect with a local Realtor for immediate results, or, we are told the listings with “TXFIRE” in the remarks will appear on but we have not confirmed whether these will be automated and immediate or not.

Another option for the evacuees to find shelter is via HomeAway, the vacation rental site which has set up a special page outlining free to extremely discounted listings in the central Texas area that they are updating frequently.

Other relief efforts

Disaster relief efforts are being led in Central Texas by the Red Cross and we encourage anyone capable of giving to donate. Additionally, the Austin Board of Realtors has notified us that several initiatives have been started by local Realtors:

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  1. Bartlett Real Estate Group, Keller Williams: The clothing collection drop-off point is a storage facility behind the Bartlett Real Estate Group office located at 6816 FM 620 N, next to the Boat House Grill. Clothing bins will be labeled by size and gender. Volunteers will be there all day on September 7 accepting all donations. For more information, contact Stacy Rider at 512-423-8122.
  2. The GoodLife Team: The GoodLife Team is accepting bottled water, sports drinks, canned food and clean clothing. Donations are accepted 8:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m. at 1114 E. Cesar Chavez. For more information, call 512-892-9473.
  3. Urbanspace: Urbanspace is accepting bottled water, canned goods, toiletries, etc. at 801 W. 5th St., Suite 100.
  4. Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS®: The Coldwell Banker Lake Travis office is collecting donations at 907 RR 620 S, on the second floor of the building. They have offered to pick up donations, as well. For more information, call Lisa Jacobson at 512-983-0040.
  5. The Carvajal Group: Donations of toiletries, baby items, pet food, bedding and more are being accepted by The Carvajal Group at 2217 Hancock Dr. Contact Eric Carvajal at 512-786-1515 with any questions.
  6. Stanberry & Associates: Stanberry Bastrop is collecting donations at 111 Hasler, across the street from the HEB in Bastrop. They will also accept donations at Stanberry office locations in Westlake, Dripping Springs and Cedar Park. Suggested donations include gift cards, non-perishable food, clothing, pet food, diapers and toiletries.

Lastly, we would like to note the tremendous efforts by who has quietly help displaced ranchers across Central Texas by coordinating shelter and transportation at no fee, and have noted in detail how to help displaced pets.

Note from the Editor:
We would like to thank the real estate community for coming out so strongly in support of the fire victims. Years ago, we lost our family home to fire, weeks before my high school graduation. It is life changing to see an obscure pile of gray rubble that resembles what could have been your bedroom or kitchen, but was transformed into a tiny pile with everything else you owned becoming a smoke plume as photographed above. There is this sinking, helpless feeling when your family home disappears, and when your father has scars left from burns all over his arms from holding the garden hose until it literally melted in his hands as he waited for the fire department to eventually arrive (albeit too late). We at AGBeat are working to help local evacuees and we hope that you will find a way to assist as well, because that sinking, helpless feeling is only assuaged by the kindness of others, as it is hard to convince someone who just lost everything that it could ever be okay or normal again.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Greg

    September 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing the homeaway info. There's still a lot of free temporary housing there being donated by very generous people.

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