Here at Apartment List, we believe that everyone deserves a home they love. But what happens when you lose that place and you’re not certain where to go next?
In November 2018, Northern and Southern California experienced the most destructive wildfires in history. The Camp Fire broke out in Paradise, just 20 miles east of Chico, on November 8th and reduced over 18,000 structures to ash. On the same day, the Woolsey Fire started in the hills of Malibu and destroyed over 1,600 homes. As a result of these two fires, thousands of families lost everything and were left searching for a safe place to call home right before the holidays.
The effects of the fire were tangible here in San Francisco, where Apartment List has its headquarters. The poor air quality and inability to be outside altered the routines of many employees, but it was a minor inconvenience compared to the devastation of losing a home—one’s possessions, memories, livelihood and sense of security. Colleagues made contributions to food and clothing drives, but John Kobs, our CEO, asked, “What more can we do?”
Before heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, we mobilized an internal team to create the wildfire relief initiative, our first ever social impact program. We called up friends of Apartment List—property management companies near the affected areas and like-minded consumers partners—all who wanted to get involved, but didn’t know where or how to start.
Together with Equity Residential, Veritas, Greystar and LeFever Mattson Property Management alongside Silicon Valley Bank and the Housing Industry Foundation, and companies including Casper, DoorDash, Handy and Wag!, we helped displaced families find home over the holidays and into the new year.
For one family, that meant a safe space to get back to the routine of school and work, and celebrate a 7th birthday. For another, an open apartment in San Francisco represented a return to an old neighborhood, previous roots and existing friendships. And for a mom and her young son, this home marked a familiar place to settle in after a string of seven temporary shelters, including a car.
Perhaps more impressive than the community coming together, is the hope and resilience displayed by the displaced families – buoyed by the kindness of strangers, and the intangible yet unmistakable feeling of home.
We know this is just a small part of the long road to recovery, but we look forward to engaging more clients and partners as we continue to help everyone find home. You can learn more by visiting our relief website at https://relief.apartmentlist.com/. If you would like to partner with Apartment List on future initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.