EATONTOWN, NJ – The Winnie, the Affordable Housing Recovery and Resource Center’s (HRRC) mobile office Winnebago, was transported to take on a new life “On the Road to Recovery,” from HRRC’s Eatontown, NJ office to Jacksonville, Florida, on November 9, 2017. It was delivered to Wealth Watchers, Inc. a nonprofit agency, working on Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in rural parts of Florida and Georgia. In September 2017 Irma devastated areas throughout these two states.
In 2014, HRRC and Winnie were made possible through a grant from the Mary Pat Christie Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. The mobile center provided workshops, counseling and guidance to Monmouth and Ocean County residents whose homes were impacted by Hurricane Sandy to rebuild their homes or relocate. The center provided seminars and workshops to assist community residents through the home purchasing process, obtaining insurance coverage, preventing foreclosures and in handling legal issues. The Winnie often appeared in local fairs, festivals and outreach events in Monmouth and Ocean counties to assist community residents to ensure their future home sustainability.
NeighborWorks America (NeighborWorks) is a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization that supports community development agencies throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks was instrumental in finding Wealth Watchers which could use the Winnie to continue to help hurricane devastated community residents. Both AHA and Wealth Watchers are one of the 250 certified Community Development Member agencies of NW America.
Wealth Watchers is a (HUD) certified Housing Counseling and Community Development Organization (CHDO) similar to the organizational structure of AHA. It was formed as a nonprofit organization in 2001 as a result of a series of meetings of local Florida Financial Services Professionals who believed that education was the foundation for financial success and community and economic stability. Wealth Watchers is a resource for Florida residents who will now be in jeopardy of losing their homes because of storm damages.
HRRC through the Winnebago brought mobile counseling services to homeowners and renters throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties in an effort to provide them find viable and permanent housing solutions as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The benefits of this resource will now be continued in Florida and Georgia to help residents impacted by Hurricane Irma in those areas. Carrie Davis who is the President and CEO of Wealth Watchers stated, “The Winnie is a wonderful addition to the Wealth Watchers Family. When she arrived we sent out an arrival notice to our staff, board and partners announcing a new addition to our family. The Winnebago will be used to assist Wealth Watchers in bringing resources too hard to reach communities in Northeast Florida and South Georgia that were impacted by Hurricane Irma. The mobile office will allow Wealth Watchers and other collaborative partners to conduct case management activities and assist those who are in need of assistance, but lack access to transportation or internet.”