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Volunteers Lend a Hand on Fixing up North Hill Homes

photo of Deidre Stone-Jackson, Ma Rein

Hundreds of volunteers converged on Akron’s North Hill neighborhood over the weekend to work on houses as part of National Rebuilding Month.

The effort was part of the national Rebuilding Together initiative to provide low-income homeowners with major repairs, free of charge.

Jeff Tucker -- who owns his own construction firm and was helping out on Saturday – says many homeowners in North Hill run into challenges with upkeep because they are veterans or elderly, and their homes are often close to a hundred years old.

“There’s a number of different repairs that have happened: one type of material into another type of material into another and trying to find good ways to transition and come back and make things work.”

High school senior Ma Rien moved to North Hill with her family from Thailand two years ago, and says seeing the work done on her home has even inspired her to tackle home improvement projects in the future.

“I’m so excited and I really appreciate that they give up their time to help. And also, elderly people have so much energy and I’m so surprised.”

Ramona Robinson applied for help and was accepted earlier this year. She and her husband have been sidelined due to health issues, but she had a simple answer when asked what she’s getting from the workers at her 111-year-old home.

“Getting blessed! (laughs) We’re getting new cabinets, countertops, sinks, new ceiling, lights in the kitchen, new front steps, landscaping, banisters and some plumbing work. And we may have to have a new furnace.”

The Akron Rebuilding Together program added about $200,000 in value to the nine homes in North Hill. More information on applying for the program is available here.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.