Ottawa-based software company helps find housing for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina
Ottawa, Canada – September 6, 2005 – A Canadian company is helping to find temporary housing for thousands of families in Louisiana whose lives were devastated by the fury of Hurricane Katrina.
Ottawa-based Customer Expressions, which specializes in web-based software for companies that need to manage large numbers of cases, was approached late last week by Operation: Share Your Home, a newly created charitable organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA. The volunteer group’s mission is to assist those looking for temporary housing by putting them in touch with individuals who are willing to open their homes for a few days, a week or longer.
Operation: Share Your Home initially relied on a toll-free telephone number to collect the names of people who were willing to help displaced families, as well as those who needed shelter. But the volume of calls soon became too great to manage. At that point, one of the leaders of the group contacted Customer Expressions.
“We got a call from them late in the day Friday Sept. 2, just before the long weekend. Assembling our team, we went to work right away and by 9 a.m. the next morning we had a customized version of our i-Sight case management software up and running for them to record offers of housing and people looking for housing,” said Joe Gerard, Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Customer Expressions. “Since going live, we have been recording a new offer or a request every five seconds on average. There were more than 7,000 cases recorded in the first two days.”
The sign-up forms are located at www.shareyourhome.org. People who are willing to share a house or an unused mobile home are asked to fill in their contact information, the ages of people currently living in the home, the number of available beds and other considerations such as whether smoking, alcohol or pets are allowed. The organization is also collecting offers of transportation and financial assistance.
Although Baton Rouge managed to avoid major storm damage, the city is now struggling to cope with an influx of at least 100,000 refugees and rescue workers. Real-estate agents say that nearly every house on the market before Katrina struck the state has now been sold. An estimated 7,000 New Orleans residents are currently living in homeless shelters the Baton Rouge area, and thousands of others are staying with friends and relatives.
So far most of the people who are submitting offers of help through www.shareyourhome.org have been residents of Louisiana and neighbouring states. But offers are also coming in from as far away as Illinois. “The response has been phenomenal,” Gerard said. “From our perspective, we just feel honoured to be able to help when there are so many people in desperate need.”
Founded in 2000, Customer Expressions creates customizable case management systems for companies and organizations with from 20 to 40,000 employees. Clients include H.J. Heinz Company, Caterpillar Inc., the State of West Virginia and the company that operates Toronto’s Highway 407 express toll-route.
For further information, please contact:
Joe Gerard, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing
800-465-6089 or firstname.lastname@example.org