Much like the rest of the world, here at the HBA 2020 was a roller-coaster ride unlike any other. But, instead of focusing on the challenges this year created, we’d like to celebrate the wins that came out of this unprecedented situation. When asking both leaders from the HBA membership and staff, overwhelmingly the theme of resiliency emerged. The HBA community truly pulled together to keep both our association and the home building industry itself moving forward when so many businesses were collapsing. Thank you to our members, especially the 2020 Board of Trustees, for their commitment.
Keep Austin Building
One of the most significant accomplishments this year was the role our Government Relations team. Made up of a small army of engaged members representing different areas of home building and our Senior Government Relations Director, played in ensuring our industry was deemed essential, especially during the early stages of the pandemic. This effort required aggressive lobbying at the local, state and national levels and being nimble as government orders ebbed and flowed throughout. Thank you to this group for stepping up to the plate for this critical work.
At the height of the coronavirus spikes in the spring, the HBA was handed another curve ball which required our Board of Directors to spring into action in an unexpected way when our CEO announced she would be leaving within the next two months. Immediately, our Board formed a strategic task force and launched an intensive search for our next leader. Though this was an arduous process to undertake while also focusing on keeping our industry working, everyone agrees that the outcome was a gift in disguise. Out of this challenge came Taylor Jackson who has performed with grace under pressure in the six months since being handed the reins during such a tumultuous time. Taylor, thank you and we are so happy to have you at the helm of the HBA.
As with other Associations like ours, our funding depends heavily on the support of our members through event sponsorships. Unfortunately, unlike other businesses and non-profit organizations, trade associations were excluded from applying for PPP monies making event sponsorship more important than ever. In order to help keep the HBA afloat, the staff quickly and efficiently turned many of our most important events including the Marketing and Advertising (MAX) Awards, the Parade of Homes and the Mid-Year Housing Forecast into successful virtual events. Our members really stood by the HBA, continuing to sponsor and attend events resulting in most either meeting or exceeding profits from previous years.
The only reason the HBA exists is to serve our members. As you can imagine, many businesses were forced to cut their budgets, meaning many members had to make the tough choice to renew or drop their memberships this year. Additionally, tight budgets made attracting new members all the more difficult. Thanks to the HBA Membership committee for leading the crusade to not only retain 74 percent of existing members but to also bring on 121 new members year-to-date. Incredible!
A bright light during the pandemic has been the HBA Benefit Home Program — the annual construction of a home built mostly — if not entirely — through donations of construction management, materials, supplies, labor and monies of HBA members. A portion of the proceeds from the sale benefits a local charity. This year, we were lucky to close on the sales of two homes, one built in 2019 by Taylor Morrison which sold earlier this year and the 2020 Lennar Benefit Home which sold in October. The sale of these two properties allowed us to donate more than $200,000 to HomeAid Austin. Additionally, construction began on the 2021 Benefit Home thanks to the generosity of Johnson Development and Chesmar Homes.
Undoubtedly, this has been one of the toughest years the HBA has ever faced. It is through the strong support of HBA members that we have been able to survive. Thank you for your commitment to this organization. We look forward to serving you in 2021 and beyond.