For people directly affected by Katrina, the hurricane and its aftermath are a call to action on a scale seldom seen in American history. Rarely before have so many Americans needed so much.
And rarely before have Americans responded in such overwhelming measure. That response includes tens of thousands of Americans who are opening their homes to the victims of Katrina—and not just to family and friends. They are providing the security and comforts of their homes to complete strangers. Many more will do so in the coming weeks and months. We applaud these selfless acts of generosity and compassion.
* * *
Community Associations Institute (CAI) President Sandra K. Denton (CMCA, LSM, PCAM) issues the following statement encouraging community associations to work with residents who want to host those who have lost their homes to Katrina:
"We recognize that the governing documents that guide many community associations may be seen by some as obstacles to providing long-term shelter to the victims of this tragedy. These documents, developed to protect the best interests of the community as a whole, do not account for a disaster leaving up to a million of our fellow citizens with little more than the clothes on their backs.
"We urge community and condominium associations to be as flexible as possible in these unprecedented circumstances.
"We encourage homeowners interested in hosting to talk to their governing boards, so issues can be addressed in a spirit of cooperation. This arrangement, especially where it involves numerous homeowners in an individual association, can raise concerns relating to insurance, adherence to rules (such as parking and pets) and the use of services and facilities.
"Homeowners elected by their neighbors to serve on community association governing boards are obligated to preserve the nature of their communities, ensure the financial integrity of the association and meet the collective expectations of all residents. While issues may need to be addressed, we do not believe there is an inherent conflict between fulfilling these responsibilities and providing shelter to those in need.
"In times of crisis, people need to be flexible and reasonable.
"CAI places great value on the importance of building a true sense of community in homeowner and condominium associations. People who open their homes to the victims of Katrina are building community on a national scale. We urge community association leaders to work with residents who want to help in this gracious way."
CAI is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent community associations. The organization, which includes 55 regional, state and local chapters, represents professional community managers, community association volunteer leaders (homeowners), management companies, and businesses and professionals who serve these communities.
More than 54 million Americans live in an estimated 270,000 homeowner and condominium associations, cooperatives and other planned communities.