ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS (NJ.com) — More than 20 months after Hurricane Sandy upended the lives of thousands of residents along the Jersey Shore, many are still grappling with difficult decisions about how to rebuild and even whether to rebuild.
At a newly-opened housing recovery resource center in Atlantic Highlands, a team of counselors aims to help up to 800 families in Monmouth and Ocean counties over the next two years find solutions to those lingering questions. Donna Turner, the lead housing counselor at the center that is operated by the Affordable Housing Alliance, today said clients are coming in with questions about whether to knock down their home and rebuild completely or repair and elevate their storm-damaged property.
A $600,000 grant from the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, chaired by New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie, is primarily supporting the center, which provides free housing counseling to Sandy-impacted families in Monmouth and Ocean counties. The Affordable Housing Alliance will also operate a mobile office in a renovated Winnebago.
The center, which was also funded with $200,00 from NeighborWorks America, offers residents one-on-one sessions with housing counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help with financial management and budget analysis, new homebuyer counseling, foreclosure mediation and other general guidance.