Providing short-term housing for people displaced by natural disasters.
On April 9, 2015, at roughly 6:40 PM, an EF4 tornado tore through 30 miles of farmland northeast of Franklin Grove, Ill. Over the next 40 minutes, its winds gusted to 200 mph, destroying homes in Rochelle and Fairdale. Two people died, 22 were injured, and many families were left in desperate need of shelter. It was one of 11 tornadoes to hit Illinois that night.footnote 1
In the aftermath of such events, ALE Solutions, located in St. Charles, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, is the company many insurance carriers trust to provide emergency housing to policyholders suddenly displaced.
Since 2001, ALE Solutions has been instrumental in providing immediate housing solutions following every major natural disaster in the United States, including hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and tornadoes such as those that flattened Moore, Okla., in 2013 and Fairdale, Ill., in 2015. This past September, ALE helped families evacuate due to California's devastating wildfires.
ALE mobilizes quickly and arrives on site within 24 hours of an event. Whether responding to an isolated tornado or to a large scale natural disaster, ALE moves decisively to meet the challenge of finding suitable housing for large numbers of displaced homeowners when supply is often eclipsed by the sudden demand.
When not responding to large-scale catastrophes, ALE serves the individual housing needs of families who have lost use of their homes due to a fire or other perils covered by their insurance policies. Because these disasters happen at all hours, ALE maintains an empathetic staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide immediate temporary housing, typically in a hotel.
Meet the People Behind the Program
Chief Executive Officer
President & Owner, ALE Solutions
Rowena Zimmers started ALE Solutions in February 2001 and runs the company with her husband, CEO Rob Zimmers. Together, they employ hundreds of people and serve approximately 60,000 displaced families every year. "We are often the first service that is given to them on behalf of the insurance company," says Rob.
For home repairs that are expected to last longer than one month, ALE provides a suitable long-term housing solution which does not require any out-of-pocket housing costs for the family. Most of these properties are made turnkey-ready by ALE, complete with rental furniture and housewares, including dishes and towels. Throughout the process, the family is guided by Housing Specialists experienced at providing the personal care needed.
The Zimmers attribute much of ALE's growth to their strong banking relationship with JPMorgan Chase. By working hand-in-hand with ALE, JPMorgan Chase created a customized credit program tailored to the company's specific needs and extended millions in credit so that policyholders wouldn't face prohibitive out-of-pocket charges for temporary housing.
"I have always been impressed by the interest taken in my commercial business by my business banker and those that support my account," says Rob. “Whenever increases in credit were needed, the groundwork was always in place so that no matter the situation, sufficient funding was available." JPMorgan Chase ensures that ALE always has the money to respond quickly to disasters. "Our customers rely on ALE to come through with the housing they need, and I rely on Chase to make sure my business has the funding needed. They have never let me down," adds Rowena.