CINCINNATI — Naima Jackson is one major step closer to preserving her family’s legacy for future generations.
WCPO first reported on Jackson in February when she was struggling to find a way to make repairs to her family home on Alaska Court in Avondale.
Jackson’s great-grandparents bought the house 53 years ago, becoming some of the first Black homeowners on the street. Jackson inherited the home from her father. The house has been paid off for more than 20 years. But Jackson’s monthly Social Security disability checks aren’t enough to cover the cost of repairs needed to keep the home livable. She sought help from local nonprofit organizations with no luck and tried unsuccessfully to get a second mortgage or home equity loan.
“This family house is everything,” Jackson said at the time. “I’m trying to save a legacy.”
In response to that story, WCPO 9 readers and viewers stepped up to help. In May, Deer Park Roofing installed a new roof and gutters on Jackson’s home. Owens Corning donated the shingles, and Deer Park supplied the labor and other materials as the company’s charitable project for the National Roofing Contractors Association National Roofing Week.
Roofing crews removed three old roofs from Jackson’s house and replaced some rotting wood before installing the new roof on May 24 and new gutters the following day, said David Noe, Deer Park Roofing’s director of human resources.
“With the shingles, with the gutters and with the bad wood and everything, you’re probably talking about $12,000,” Noe said of the value of the project. “This roof will probably last 20 to 25 years.”
Standing outside her house while Deer Park crews were working, Jackson said she was excited to see the work underway.
“Today kicks off the beginning of, you know, the rest of my time here in the house,” she said, “to the other renovations that will be done shortly.”
Those other renovations include extensive work inside the house to replace its heating system, waterproof the basement and modify the home so more members of Jackson’s family can live there, too.
Rich and Amy Goodman are leading the charge on that work.
Rich Goodman is a project manager with NorthPoint Development, and Amy Goodman is a local real estate agent and fair housing officer. They met with Jackson in February and have been creating a plan to get the interior work completed.
Sure Mechanical, a local mechanical contracting firm, offered to take care of the home’s HVAC system and duct work. Rich Goodman said other local companies want to help with labor and supplies, too.
He and his wife have launched a new GoFundMe campaign to raise $40,000 to pay for the work that donated labor and materials won’t cover. That’s in addition to an initial GoFundMe campaign launched by Tracey McCullough that has raised more than $6,500. The Goodmans want Jackson to be able to keep the money raised in the first GoFundMe for ongoing home maintenance and future repairs.
The Goodmans’ GoFundMe had raised $4,450 as of June 2 toward the $40,000 goal.
“We’ve got some great momentum right out the gate,” Rich Goodman said. “I am very optimistic.”
Goodman said he hopes to begin interior renovations and repairs in July, adding that he and his wife are excited to be involved in the effort.
“I’m a very family-oriented guy,” he said. “A family’s trying to not just keep their home but then be able to keep it long enough to be able to pass it down, you know, to additional generations of their family. So I wanted to be a part of that.”
Jackson said she waited a long time before deciding to tell her story publicly in the hopes that it would draw attention to the struggles that homeowners can face.
“This house has never had a second mortgage or equity out, and we didn’t qualify unfortunately,” she said. “I wasn’t angry, but I was upset that for the fact that it was collateral that I should be able to use to get the upgrade on the house. But it didn’t work out as planned.”
Jackson said she’s grateful that so many people are stepping forward to help.
“I’m just excited,” she said. “It’s a gift of pay it forward that I never thought I would receive.”
The Goodmans’ new GoFundMe campaign is accepting donations. Click here for more information.
Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on problems we need to address. Poverty is an important focus for Lucy and for WCPO 9. To reach Lucy, email email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.