Lisa Stender is in some hot water after it was revealed the New Jersey state Assemblywoman’s husband turned to the non-profit group Habitat for Humanity to rebuild his $465,000 beach house after it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Records show that Richard Stender applied to the local branch of the Habitat for Humanity, an organization that helps low-income home buyers, for help repairing his damaged beach home.
Lisa Stender did not elaborate on why her husband sought funds from Habitat for Humanity to rebuild their nearly half-million dollar home, but did confirm that they applied for the funds.
“Like many others, our family suffered significant losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy,” Stender said. “An application was made to Coastal Habitat for Humanity to assist in rebuilding. There are outstanding issues which are the subject of continued efforts to resolve.”
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey-based branch of Habitat for Humanity broadened the guidelines for who could apply for financing, including those making up to 80 percent of the median income in Monmouth County. But that would still amount to a little more than $60,000.
Maureen Mulligan, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity branch, confirmed that Lisa Stender and her husband did apply and receive funding, but did not reveal their financial situation.
“I can’t share the family’s information with anybody. But what I can share with you is that (the homeowner) applied for our assistance and that we did indeed demolish their house, which was determined by FEMA and their insurance company to be damaged at least 51 percent,” Mulligan said in an interview with NJ.com. “So it was cheaper, according to FEMA, to demolish it and then rebuild the house.”
Members of the New Jersey General Assembly receive an annual base salary of $49,000, and the assemblywoman’s financial disclosures show that her husband made at least $50,000 in both 2012 and 2013 from a printing company he owns.
Some neighbors were steaming over the revelation that Richard Stender received help for his pricey beach home.
“It’s ridiculous. There are so many people down here that have no help from FEMA since Sandy hit, it’s ridiculous,” said Carolyn Chevance, one of Stender’s Manasquan neighbors.
With the controversy growing, Lisa Stender called a meeting with two other lawmakers from her district, explaining that her husband bought the home as his primary residence, but that she lives with her elderly mother in Scotch Plains.
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