Habitat for Humanity Unveils 21st Home in Ocean County

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

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

With their son Lincoln and baby Elliana, they moved into 2643 Ridgeway Road. But they were not 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 most,” Maryrose told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I want to thank Ocean County Vocational School for helping to build this house. I want to thank everyone who gave their time and gave us a chance and gave us a place for stability and a place where we can build tradition and create memories and a yard in which Lincoln can run.

She also thanked everyone at Habitat for “giving us a place to call home.”


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

Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity chaplain Barbara Miles presents a Bible to the family who will now occupy the brand new house being built on Ridgeway Road in Manchester Township. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Providing a “helping hand” and not a “handout” through these programs, the owners contribute their “working capacity” by volunteering. Currently, Northern Ocean Habitat has completed over 300 low-to-moderate income home repair projects in addition to constructing 21 homes throughout the region.

Executive Director Kristine Novakowski said The Manchester Times“We partnered with the Ocean County Vocational School New Homes Building Program to build this home. There were approximately 18 students who worked on it along with over 20 Habitat volunteers. many local businesses that have donated materials and services.

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

Novakowski listed the donors responsible for the 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 equipment; Ben Franklin Plumbing donated all plumbing materials and labor; One Hour Heating and Cooling donated materials and labor; and Woodhaven Lumber donated the plasterboard.

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 house design which we modify as needed depending on the size of the lot we are building on. The house has three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms and because we worked with the OCVTS program, we were able to continue building and we didn’t encounter too many problems,” Novakowski said.

Photo courtesy of Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity

She explained, “On the permit side, there have been some minor delays, but Manchester Township officials have been very helpful in moving the process 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 to build affordable houses, because the cost of land has become prohibitive to buy. Once we secure the land, we begin our application process to select a partner family for the house,” she added.

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

“As part of this partnership, the family undertakes to contribute 300 hours of work to help build their house. This house started in January 2022 and the family will be closing their house in August,” she added.

Habitat Construction Director Bob Conway said, “To be the person at the forefront of making this dream come true for John and Maryrose is the best it can be. The house does not assemble itself of course.

“There is a lot of blood and sweat to build this house, donations of materials, labor and volunteers. These houses cannot come together without their (volunteer) help,” he added.

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

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

Habitat Board President Sharon Barker led the litany dedication and group chaplain Barbara Miles presented a Bible to the family. “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 he presented the Bible to Maryrose.

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

Mayor Hudak remarked at the ceremony, “We are proud to be a host community. We are proud to work with Habitat on many levels and look forward to welcoming you to our community and wishing you the best of luck in your new home. Thank you for all the good work you do and all the volunteers who have been involved in this project and all the other projects, we really appreciate it.

Several presentations of gift baskets were made and an interior tour followed the ceremony. Learn more about visiting Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity www.northernoceanhabitat.org.