Berkeley Donates $100,000 For Worthy Cause

Photo by Chris Lundy

  BERKELEY – The governing body donated another $100,000 to the Northern Ocean Habitat For Humanity which will build a house for a needy, deserving family.

  Mayor Carmen Amato said that the township has an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Whenever there is new home construction or additions, they pay 1 percent of that value into the fund. Therefore, the township is able to help this good cause without using tax dollars.

  “With this donation, Berkeley Township has contributed one million dollars from the trust fund to local non-profit agencies,” Amato said.

  Amato explained that Habitat began their work in town repairing the roof of Manitou Park matriarch Eunice Grant. It then built four houses in that area, and two of them had students from the Ocean County Vocational-Technical School working on them as a living classroom.

  This will be Habitat’s 20th house, and the sixth in Berkeley Township. They’ve also repaired 60 homes impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

  Placing a family in a home provides a stable place for them to put down roots in a safe neighborhood that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford, said Suzan Fichtner, the organization’s executive director. This new home will be located on Grand Central Parkway.

  She shared stories of families that are thriving now in town. One parent is finishing up a nursing program. Another will be an accountant.

  A child growing up in a good home gives them a foundation that they couldn’t get any other way, she said. And the benefit is generational. When those children have their own families, they will be starting off in a better place. And so on.

  Habitat builds houses but they also perform critical home repairs for low income homeowners, she said.

  “This is part of our commitment to Neighborhood Revitalization which is a Habitat for Humanity International Initiative,” she said. “For the past ten years we have been repairing homes for our low income neighbors through our Aging in Place program, Veteran Repair Program, Weatherization program, Critical Home Program and home preservation program (Brush with Kindness). To date we have repaired 230 homes. These donations make all of this possible.”

  Dick Read, a long-time volunteer for the organization, said the donation will bring them more than halfway toward the new house. He thanked the town’s governing body and also the workers in places like the town’s construction department, calling them courteous, prompt, and fair.

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