Habitat For Humanity Unveils 21st Home In Ocean County

Students of Donovan Catholic High School in Toms River who are members of the Habitat Chapter helped beautify the property around the new home. (Photo courtesy Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity)

  MANCHESTER – John and Maryrose will probably never forget when they cut the ribbon on their new home.

  With their son Lincoln and baby Elliana, they moved in to 2643 Ridgeway Road. But they weren’t alone. They were joined by volunteers and the Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity.

  “First and foremost, I want to thank my parents for supporting us and giving us a place to stay when we needed it the most,” Maryrose told the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “I want to thank the Ocean County Vocational School for helping build this house. I want to thank everybody who gave up their time and who gave us a chance and gave us a place for stability and a place where we can build tradition and make memories and a yard for Lincoln to run around in.”

  She also thanked everyone from Habitat for “giving us a place we can call home.”

  Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1999 and seeks to eliminate poverty housing in the community and make simple, decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.

Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity Chaplain Barbara Miles presents a Bible to the family that will now occupy the brand-new home built on Ridgeway Road, Manchester Township. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  Providing a “hand up” and not a “handout” through these programs, homeowners put in “sweat equity” by volunteering. Currently, Northern Ocean Habitat completed more than 300 low-to-moderate income home repair projects in addition to building 21 homes throughout the area.

  Executive Director Kristine Novakowski told The Manchester Times, “We partnered with the Ocean County Vocational School New Home Construction program to build this home. There were about 18 students that worked on it along with over 20 Habitat volunteers. We also have many local businesses that donated materials and services.

  “Donovan Catholic Habitat for Humanity campus chapter provided 13 volunteers to come out to do the landscaping for the front of the home. Ferguson had a team build day with eight volunteers and Crossroads Realty had two team build days with a total of 12 volunteers. Manchester Township donated the land to NOHFH for development,” she added.

  Novakowski listed the donors responsible for materials: All County Exteriors donated the roof; Carl’s Fencing, Decking & Home Improvements donated the siding; Christone Electric donated all electrical work; Good Friend electric donated electrical materials; Ben Franklin Plumbing donated all plumbing materials and labor; One Hour Heating and Cooling donated materials and labor; and Woodhaven Lumber donated the sheetrock.

  She said, “other sponsors included NJNG, Horizon Pest Control, Last Wave Brewery, Toms River Brewing, Icarus Brewing, Wells Fargo, Manasquan Bank, OceanFirst Foundation, Jersey Coast Appliance, Omland Family Found, Marilyn Clark, and Dave and Nan Daly.

  “We work with a standard home design that we modify as needed for the size lot we are building on. The home has three bedrooms and 1.5 baths and because we worked with the OCVTS program, we were able to keep building and didn’t run into too many problems,” Novakowski said.

Photo courtesy Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity

  She explained, “on the permitting side, there were some minor delays, but Manchester Township officials were very helpful to keep the process moving forward. This is our second home in Manchester. Our 22nd home will be built in Manchester this fall, making it a total of three homes.”

  “We rely on land donations for building affordable homes as the cost of land has become prohibitive to purchase. Once we secure the land, we start our application process to select a partner family for the home,” she added.

  Novakowski further explained that applicants that meet the criteria; need for housing, meet income qualifications, and agree to partner with Habitat, are then put into a lottery selection.

  “As part of the partnership, the family agrees to 300 hours of sweat equity in helping to build their home. This home was started in January 2022 and the family will be closing on their home in August,” she added.

  Habitat Construction Director Bob Conway said, “being able to be the person at being at the front of making this dream come true for John and Maryrose is the best. The house doesn’t come together by itself obviously.”

  “There is a lot of blood and sweat getting this house together, donations of materials and labor and volunteers. These homes can’t come together without their (volunteers) help,” he added.

  House #22 will also be based in Manchester. The house currently exists in Normandy Beach. It was donated and will be moved to the lot in Manchester.

John and Maryrose stand in front of their new Ridgeway Road home, thanking Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity for all their efforts in making their dream come true. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  Habitat Board President Sharon Barker led the litany dedication and the group’s chaplain, Barbara Miles, presented the family a Bible. “We believe in the word of God, so to you and your husband, we give you the most precious gift we can give you, the word of God,” Miles said as she presented the Bible to Maryrose.

  The home was dedicated on July 12 and included a number organization members, neighbors, Mayor Robert Hudak, representatives from sponsor businesses and a representative from Congressman Chris Smith’s office.

  Mayor Hudak remarked during the ceremony, “we are proud to be a host community. We are proud to work with Habitat on many different levels and we look forward to welcoming you to our community and wish you well in your new house. Thank you for all the good work that you do and all the volunteers that participated in this project and all the other projects, we are very grateful.”

  Several gift basket presentations were made and a tour of the interior followed the ceremony. To learn more about the Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity visit northernoceanhabitat.org.