Success Stories

Wendy

Manahawkin

Meet Wendy from Manahawkin. Wendy is one of the hundreds of New Jerseyans who benefitted from the Gap Funding Initiative (GFI).

As Superstorm Sandy came ashore, Wendy and her husband were among the few in their lagoon-front community that stayed behind, boarding the windows and stacking their belongings on top of furniture.

“The lagoon came up like a bathtub, very gently,” says Wendy. “And then the surge came down the street.” Water entered the one-story home from both directions, rising to almost two feet.  The couple was forced to relocate to temporary housing.

The State of New Jersey’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program provided the couple with $150,000 to reconstruct their home at an elevation that met new flood regulations, but the grant was not enough to cover all of their rebuilding costs.  Wendy learned of GFI in her local newspaper and called New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) immediately.

The Gap Funding Initiative (GFI) is co-funded by the American Red Cross and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund through grants totaling $16.4 million.  The program is administered by NJCC and provides assistance of up to $20,000 to eligible homeowners who are participating in the State of New Jersey’s RREM program, but still have rebuilding costs they cannot afford.

Since launching in October 2013, GFI has committed grants to more than 700 homeowners, over 70% of which are considered low-to-moderate income households.  In many cases, like Wendy’s, these extra funds from the GFI program have helped New Jersey families participating in the RREM program fill the gap between available funding and the cost to rebuild, and have been the key difference between homeowners returning to their home and their continued displacement. 

With the extra boost from the GFI program, Wendy and her husband returned home for the holiday season—26 months after Hurricane Sandy.  “The $20,000 from GFI was a godsend,” says Wendy. “Thank you to all the groups and donors who are helping me and my neighbors return home.”  

“Thank you to all the groups and donors who are helping me and my neighbors return home.”