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YNDC to take over home repairs agency

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. will take over control Oct. 1 of Interfaith Home Maintenance Service Inc., a longtime agency that has provided emergency home repairs for low-income people, especially the elderly and physically challenged, primarily in Youngstown.

“It’s a natural fit and a good example of how nonprofits come together,” said Ian Beniston, YNDC’s executive director.

YNDC does limited home repairs such as roof replacements and full house repairs, and now will add Interfaith’s work handling emergency repairs, Beniston said.

“It’s complementary to what we do with house repairs,” he said.

The boards of directors of both agencies agreed to have the YNDC absorb Interfaith, he said.

Interfaith’s six employees will work for YNDC starting Oct. 1, Beniston said.

Deborah Grinstein, president of Interfaith’s board of directors, said, “We thought about this for a long time. YNDC and Interfaith have similar missions and similar programs. We felt we could do a better job for the community by having the larger organization take over the smaller ones.”

Kerry Pettit, Interfaith’s executive director for the past three years, left the organization last month — for reasons not related to the YNDC decision, Grinstein said.

“We’re very excited for this change,” she said. “You can’t ask for anything better than this situation. YNDC is a white knight. It’s going to work out great.”

Interfaith began as an ecumenical volunteer agency in spring 1974 after then-Youngstown Mayor Jack Hunter made a plea to the community to plan and implement a concerted housing maintenance program for families unable to make necessary home repairs, according to the agency’s website. Interfaith hired its first full-time paid employees in July 1977 and since then has made more than 19,000 home repairs, including plumbing, carpentry, painting, plastering and furnace repairs.

YNDC incorporated in December 2008 and started operating in January 2010. YNCD is a citywide neighborhood planning and development organization providing housing and neighborhood stabilization services primarily in Youngstown.

The agency does neighborhood cleanups, repairs vacant homes and then resells them, provides housing counseling services and access to capital and education in underserved Mahoning Valley communities, rents properties, renovates commercial properties, and operates a small business development program.