When Stable Homes Are Far From Reach

These practitioners refuse to look away from their neighbors with the most dire needs.

November 2, 2014

At this time of year, many real estate professionals come together to support charitable works, but the Good Neighbor Award winners aren’t the only REALTORS® who take it further with their year-round dedication to community service. The priority for these REALTORS® is helping those who are having difficulty finding or keeping a roof over their heads, including fellow real estate practitioners facing major setbacks.

Ellen O’Brien, GRI


O’Brien’s story: “If you go to some of these homeless shelters, you wouldn’t believe how many men stay the night there,” O’Brien says. That’s what motivated her to start the RHAF in 1989, when she was the president of the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®. For 25 years, RHAF has been raising money for homeless organizations that help the elderly stay in their homes, put homeless pregnant women into safe housing, and reach out to at-risk youth.


Diane Disbrow, ABR, GRI


Disbrow’s story: Disbrow is the go-to person for donations to ACRM in Atlantic City, N.J. After she started organizing clothing drives and serving hot meals to the homeless at ACRM, she broadened her outreach: getting the Girl Scout troop she leads to run two major food drives per year for the mission. She also rounds up donations from clients who are decluttering or downsizing and makes her state association’s convention—taking place across the street from ACRM—a hub for donations.


Betty Jones, ABR, SRES


Jones’ story: Jones formed RAIN after learning about a similar support group for police officers facing hardship. The network raises funds for local REALTORS® through community events.  Recently RAIN helped an agent with breast cancer who fell behind on her bills. The utility company threatened to shut off her power, but RAIN paid her bill so she had one less worry at home. “It is the most wonderful feeling to know that I can help other people,” Jones says.


Graham Wood
Executive Editor of Digital Media

Graham Wood is Executive Editor of Digital Media for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@nar.realtor.