YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The administration of Youngstown Mayor Jamael “Tito” Brown is proposing a plan that would create the largest roof replacement program in the city’s history.
Council must still approve it. If passed, the plan would go a long way toward preserving the city’s aging housing stock.
Code enforcement Superintendent Mike Durkin doesn’t mince words when asked how bad the roof situation is in Youngstown.
“Uh … Very bad,” he said.
But Durkin and the city have a plan to replace roofs — more than the city has ever done.
“A lot of these folks that we deal with on a daily basis that are living in squalor, their roofs are leaking, so they shut their second and their third floors down and they live in their first floor,” Durkin said.
The proposed plan is to spend $3 million in American Rescue Plan funds on roof replacements. At $12,000 per roof — that’s 250 roofs.
Durkin estimates Youngstown has 400 to 500 roofs that need replaced. It’s expected to be presented to city council at its meeting next Wednesday.
“We get the quality of life and increase that for the citizens by putting on a new roof, then we’ve done our job and we keep them in their home for another 5 to 10 years,” Durkin said.
Durkin cited homeowners who use blue tarps to keep the water out — or others who’ve patched their roofs with multiple colors of shingles. It would be for owner-occupied houses only — and they would have to qualify — but the plan is to make it possible for most everyone.
“We’re looking at those who fall between the cracks, trying to get some of the money for them. They make enough money to live, but not enough money to replace a $12,000- roof,” Durkin said.
First News asked four of the seven members of Youngstown City Council their opinions on the proposed roof replacements program:
- Samantha Turner: Opposed
- Basia Admazack: In favor
- Julius Oliver: In favor
- Mike Ray: In favor
“Any help we can give to our citizens is a good start, particularly a roof, which is at time’s is a homeowner’s biggest expense,” Oliver said.
“I’m 100% OK with it. Keeping people in their homes should be our top priority,” Ray said.