TOMS RIVER - A community group has launched an effort to help people who are trying to rebuild or repair second homes along the Jersey shore.
Rebuild our Shores hosted the first in what could be a series of events Wednesday night at the Toms River Intermediate North School. About 200 to 250 people attended.
The group aims to connect secondary homeowners with officials as those homeowners look to rebuild.
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The federal government has said aid will be given out to those who suffered losses from the Superstorm Sandy, but in most cases, it only applies to people who used their shore home as their permanent home.
As many as 70 percent of people who own homes on the shore, own them as second homes, and many of those homeowners say they are not independently wealthy. Some tell News 12 New Jersey they have their homes because they were handed down over generations.
"By any means they're not millionaires," says Jim Santiago of Manchester. "They're fortunate that they have inherited, that it's been in the family for years. For a lot of them, they're left with empty lots."
Secondary homeowners say that they make up the majority of the property tax base in some areas.
Denise Atamian says she was told by federal officials that she and other secondary homeowners should try to raise money themselves.
"We're not entitled to anything," said Atamian. "We were told to ask family and friends for money."
Some suggest offering homeowners a longterm loan. "Help us out a little bit, give us a little bit of a leg to stand on," Joe Przybylko says. "I have a small bungalow. It's a home. It's not a second house.”
Rebuild our Shores is still trying to establish itself fully as a charity group so it can raise funds. Their charity status is still pending.