It really was a dark and stormy night when it came to us that there is a new group of homeowners in the state who could use help with disaster preparation and safety information that they may not know about.
The project started in Savannah as a partnership between the Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity and the Georgia Insurance Information Service.
Virginia Brown, the executive director of the Habitat program in the Savannah area, provided two computers at the Habitat ReStore location for customers, visitors and Habitat homeowners to use. An area of the ReStore is named The ReSource Center.
GIIS created a custom menu of information about disaster planning, disaster preparation, home safety, damage prevention and a variety of related information.
Pamphlets, brochures and other printed information are provided by GIIS, the Insurance Information Institute, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.
With the success of the Savannah ReSource Center, it was clear that this concept would make sense in as many Habitat ReStores as possible. Presentations were made to other Habitat executives in northeast Georgia, Macon and Columbus.
Brinkley Pound, executive director of the Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity, was inspired about the program and added a listing of all important phone numbers and e-mail addresses that all users of the ReSource center should have access to, such as the local power, water and gas utilities, local libraries, tag and title office and more.
The Columbus ReStore opened its ReSource Center earlier this year.
Brown noted that a major factor in the development of a new program or service is flexibility and innovation.
The Macon Area Habitat executive director, Harold Tessendorf, added another dimension to the ReSource Center concept by meeting with the executive director of the Macon Area Regional Public Library organization that operates six libraries in and around Macon.
He presented the concept to the library system, and later this year computers at each of the libraries will have the Macon Habitat ReSource Center custom menu available to anyone visiting one of their facilities.
Tessendorf points out that with the computerization of many libraries for use by their clients, libraries are expanding their information content to bring those who might not have computers into the information age.
Other Habitat facilities in Georgia are studying the program and how it can be implemented in their locations across the state.