Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity has reached a big milestone working on their 300th Home Repair through their Neighborhood Revitalization program at a home in Brick Township.
Since inception in 1999 the non-profit has built more than 20 homes in Ocean County and began their repair program following Superstorm Sandy in 2012 when they helped restore more than 60 homes, according to NOHFH.
In the years that have followed, they’ve helped a number of individuals and families feel more at ease and a little safer in their homes.
To reach a 300th home repair in a little under a decades time, means a great deal to NOHFH and the community here in Ocean County.
“This is really our way of being able to help the community and to make these needed repairs for our low-income families and community members that just don’t have that extra means to make these repairs,” NOHFH Executive Director Kristine Novakowski told Townsquare Media News on ‘Jersey Shore Journal’ Sunday morning. “It really helps us to have the impact in the community too. Besides building new homes, which we do every year, by doing these repairs it really allows us to go out and to really help the community. We’re just really excited that we’ve reached the 300th home repair and we couldn’t have done it without the community members: Brick community development block grants and the support of Brick Township is making this 300th home repair possible.”
Novakowski credits not only the funding with making this 300th home repair happen but also the volunteers who’ve stepped up to help.
“We are really a volunteer based organization so by being able to reach the 300th home repair just shows how involved the community is and how the volunteers are so willing to come out and to help us make these repairs for the community,” Novakowski said.
Robert and Evelyn Talmo, who’ve been married for more than 50-years, are seeing the home they’ve lived in for 54-years receive the 300th NOHFH home repair and it couldn’t come at a more needed time for them.
Robert, who spent time as a cook at several diners in Ocean County, has problems with his vision and difficulty walking while his wife, Evelyn, who was a pharmaceutical industry worker for over twenty years, was recently diagnosed with Dementia.
NOHFH received an application from Senior Services who referred the couple and now a ramp is being built so Robert and Evelyn can get in and out of their home. That’s just one of the upgrades being made to the home.
“Robert is newly disabled, he’s now in a wheelchair and he didn’t have a ramp to get out of his home,” Novakowksi said. “There’s some other issues in the home too with changing the bathroom over to a more ADA compliant (bathroom) for the wheelchair. The repairs to the home were starting to go up and skyrocket in price just because there’s so much work to be done.”
NOHFH then began receiving some funding assistance from the township of Brick and Mayor John Ducey as well as some local business partners.
“These local businesses really came together to help with this, we have Ferguson is helping out with the bathroom repairs and we have Adam Ricany who’s a local electrician in Brick whose offering to help and do electrical work for us and we also have Ocean County Vocational Technical School students,” Novakowski said.
When those students were approached and informed about the need for the ramp to be built, they said “how can we help”.
When she first met Robert and Evelyn, Novakowski said that she said the couple was originally just looking for a ramp but were filled with joy to learn NOHFH would be doing more to help them in their need.
“But then going into the home and seeing the work, we told them that we could help them with their bathroom and their ceiling was starting to warp and that we were going to help them to repair the ceiling,” Novakowski said. “They couldn’t believe it, they said ‘Habitat’s wonderful, I don’t know what I would do without them and all the volunteers’.”
Here are pictures of the work done so far and with Brick Mayor John Ducey and NOHFH crews and volunteers: