The idea that evolved into the business model that is now “Close to Home”, was sparked in the spring of 2011 during the rash of tornadoes that hit the United States. 2011 saw the second largest number of tornadoes recorded in one year’s time. I watched the news reports with concern. The tornado outbreaks occurred, and the stories of displacement continued – the same story told by different people throughout the United States: Temporary shelters in gymnasiums are often overcrowded and lack privacy and security; Hotel rooms are often too far from the original community; FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) trailers are not deployed quickly enough and there are often not enough of them; Rental homes and apartments are in short supply and are unfairly priced post-disaster. The consequences of these limited and imperfect solutions are higher costs for government and insurers and the breakdown of communities after a disaster. I wondered why there were no new solutions for housing people after a disaster.
Close to Home is the product of those ponderings and of thinking about the issue from a perspective of sustainability on many levels. First, how can we help a community to build back more quickly? How can we prevent the loss of community cohesion – which can truly see people through the darkest of their days? If people move away from a community, whether temporarily or permanently, emotional threads are lost leaving community ties at risk. At Close to Home, we are working toward solutions – with the understanding that the benefit of housing people close to home post-disaster has positive ripple effects in numerous realms of life for communities that are rebuilding and restoring.
-Rachel Stamm, Founder & CEO