[HFCF In the News] It takes a village to rebuild Sandy-ravaged home

(Originally published in the Asbury Park Press)

Ana Henn flips through her family album. She stops at her wedding photo and points to the ground under our feet.

“We were standing right here,” she says.

“Here” is what’s left of her home. It’s a rubble-filled patch of land, another victim of superstorm Sandy. She moved into the two-bedroom ranch with her husband Bruce in 1984. They were married here, raised kids here, built a life on this quiet side street in the Port Monmouth section of town, three blocks from Sandy Hook Bay.

Then Bruce died in April of 2012, and six months later, Sandy washed everything away.

“I cried all day,” she says. “I prayed.”

Her prayers have been answered. Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County is rebuilding her home, with a big assist from Hope for Children Foundation and a bunch of local high schools and colleges.

It takes a village sometimes, and this project is a shining example of a community picking up where the standard safety net falls short.

The House that Youth Built

Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County has helped 91 families get back into their Sandy-damaged homes, executive director Ray Gabler said. Most of those involved critical home repairs. This is the fifth total rebuild, from demolition to reconstruction.

“These are good people,” said Henn, who has been living in Keansburg with a granddaughter.