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Organization helps pair homeowners whose houses were destroyed in Sandy with reputable contractors

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TOMS RIVER, N.J. -- Frank D'Angelo's life was forever changed three years ago when Superstorm Sandy hit.

Frank and his wife remained in their one story home, thinking everything would be OK.

On the night of October 29, the storm surge came in quick and began pouring into the vents of his Toms River home.

"I said to my wife, we can't stay here," recalls D'Angelo. " I don't want to drown in this house. We locked arms together, and walked across the front yard with water up to her chin and my armpit."

Frank says he thought it was all over during that walk to a neighbor's house through the flood waters.

"I felt that I wasn't going to make it because the current was so strong," says D'Angelo.

Three years later, Frank and his wife are back in their newly renovated home. The beaches are back open, the boardwalk is rebuilt, but the landscape is different and forever changed. Frank is now faced with what hundreds of other shore home owners have to do - raise their homes 8 feet or higher into the air.

"If you raise your home, you save on insurance," says Frank.

However, that required a contractor. Since Sandy, bad contractors have been popping up and scamming people all along the shore. Last year 80% of complaints to the Ocean County Consumer Affairs Officer were Sandy related with reports of scammers taking homeowner's money and disappearing.

It almost happened to Frank -- until his doorbell rang.

"We want to eliminate price gauging and help these people get back into their homes and pre-Sandy life," says Giovanni Mistretta, now the CEO of a company called E-Z Raise.

Giovanni wanted to help and was looking for ways to do so. He had no idea that an old high school friend Steven Libman from town was already creating a company to help Sandy victims.

"People are having the same issues and questions," says Libman.

Steve and his friend Travis Cotter built a company called EZ Raise which pairs homeowners with licensed contractors who can do the work.
The two needed more help, and thats when Steven and his old high school friend Giovanni reconnected for this new venture.

The website is easy to use. The homeowner logs on and types in what they need done to their home. Then, a vetted and licensed contractors puts in a bid for the work and you select the best offer.

The best part - it's completely free! Frank used it, and is waiting to begin work now with a contractor who he chose.

"I think it's a very unique service," says Frank.

Right now, 17 contractors pay to be on the site, but this group says they hope that numbers grows over the next year.

For more information, check out their site at 1855EZRaise.Com