July 16, 2014 Morristown, NJ - Today marks the official opening of the Affordable Housing Alliance's Hurricane Sandy Housing Recovery Resource Center (HRRC) offices in Atlantic Highlands, and the unveiling of a Winnebago coach that has been outfitted with office capabilities to bring the services offered by the HRRC to the residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
The HRRC and its accompanying Winnebago, the Sandy Housing Recovery Resource Center Mobile Office, was funded in large part by a $600,000 grant from the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie. To date the Relief Fund has raised more than $40 million and distributed nearly $34 million to over 100 non-profit organizations active in New Jersey's long-term recovery efforts.
"We believe this grant to the Affordable Housing Alliance to establish the Sandy Housing Recovery Resource Center is addressing a true unmet need for New Jersey homeowners and renters," said First Lady Mary Pat Christie. "Not everyone is an expert in home financing, foreclosures or home construction, but the HRRC staff is uniquely qualified to help Sandy impacted New Jerseyans make these difficult and complex decisions."
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Certified Housing Counselors will review each client's unique personal and financial situation, assess their ability to rebuild or relocate, and provide comprehensive resources to support their chosen housing permanency plan. HRRC Housing Counselors' skills encompass a broad range of recovery resources including benefits layering and mortgage modification, foreclosure intervention, financial and budget impact analysis planning, replacement housing options and home construction protocols.
"Thousands of homes in Monmouth and Ocean County were substantially damaged or destroyed," said Donna M. Blaze, CEO of the Affordable Housing Alliance. "Many people are still displaced and don't know how to move forward, or they are living in limbo due to financial gaps and other unforeseen complications. Staff at the Housing Recovery Resource Center will work individually with clients - both homeowners and renters - to find permanent housing solutions." Blaze believes that what differentiates the HRRC from other organizations is the staff specialization. Noting, "our team has more than 20 years of experience in overcoming housing recovery obstacles."
The HRRC offices are located at 171 1st Avenue in Atlantic Highlands. The hours of operation are Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and Tuesday/Thursday from 8:00am to 7:00pm. Weekend hours will be provided once a month, or as needed based on client schedules. The schedule for the HRRC Mobile Office Winnebago will include appearances at local fairs and alongside other relief organizations operating in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
The HRRC will also offer specialized group workshops. The bi-monthly workshops will address local recovery needs including: home insurance policies, the building permit process, relocating, rebuilding and tax implications. Topics and guest speakers will be announced via the website, social media and through email blasts to HRRC subscribers.
All services provided by the HRRC Atlantic Highlands Center and the HRRC Mobile Office are free of charge to renters and homeowners impacted by Sandy. Already more than 100 residents have signed-up for services at the HRRC. A list of available workshops and information on services offered by the HRRC and its Mobile Office is available at: www.housingall.org.
Residents can make an appointment with a housing counselor by calling the HRRC directly at: 732-982-5072 or by completing and submitting an intake form online.
About the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund
Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund Inc. is a private independent charitable organization, not formed or controlled by the State of New Jersey or any of its agencies or offices. The fund is registered with the Charities Registration and Investigation Section of the Division of Consumer Affairs under the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey. For more information, visit www.sandynjrelieffund.org or follow us on Twitter @SandyNJRelief.
About the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA)
The Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA) is a non-profit community development organization that has been operating in Monmouth County, and throughout New Jersey, since 1991. Its newest location is the Housing Recovery Resource Center (HRRC) in Atlantic Highlands and its mobile offices dedicated to helping Monmouth and Ocean County residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy, navigate the complex road to recovery.