David Monaco, 33, and his partner, Florin Nikollaj, 35, met four years ago at Woody’s.
After two years of dating, they moved into their first house together in Westville, N.J., Nov. 30, 2011.
“I really wasn’t looking for a home but one night I couldn’t sleep and started looking up houses and saw this one,” said Monaco, a restaurant director. “It was close to the waterfront and just seemed perfect, so I emailed the Realtor and said I would like to see the house. They told me it was booked solid for two weeks and would set me up with an appointment to see it, so without physically seeing the house, I made an offer by the photos I saw and they made a counter offer and moved up my appointment to see it.”
Monaco and Nikollaj, a data recovery agent, undertook renovations shortly before they moved in.
But, when Hurricane Sandy came ashore in October, the house was hit hard, with more than 5 feet of water filling the basement and 2 feet on the first floor. The couple is now tasked with having the house raised 8 feet, 8 inches and rebuilding the foundation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency told the couple it could not offer assistance, as they had flood insurance, although Monaco noted they do not have contents coverage. Their insurance company will only cover $16,000 of the projected $95,000 that the project will cost.
The couple also applied for two grants through ReNewJersey.org, but were turned down.
“The state of New Jersey is only giving money to the nine most-impacted counties,” Monaco contended. “We also called Gov. Chris Christie’s office and the Commissioners’ Office to find out if they are going to open it up to more counties and, as of now, I keep getting the run-around.”
In order to raise funds to help with repairs, the couple started an online fundraiser but have so far only generated $120. The couple has also raised $700 through other unique fundraising methods.
“We’ve just been blasting it on Facebook and we went up to New York where they had a Hurricane Sandy relief concert in which Mariah Carey performed,” Monaco said. “We went there and we made business cards and passed them out to people.”
The online fundraiser runs through the end of the month.
For more information or to donate, visit http://gogetfunding.com/project/uplifting-experience-raise-the-house-hurricane-sandyy.