Updated: Feb 5, 2019
Jacksonville Jaguars Free Safety and Akron Native Jarrod Wilson to Appear in Public Service Campaign for the Abandoned Homes Project
BEACHWOOD, Ohio, Jan. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Akron native and NFL safety Jarrod Wilson does not have to look far from where we he grew up to see the impact that Ohio's abandoned homes crises has taken on Akron's urban communities.
"I grew up just a few steps from Buchtel (High School) and I remember how the neighborhood looked when I was a kid. To see what it looks like now is heartbreaking," recalls Wilson. "I remember the families that used to live in these houses and playing football in these same yards as a child. Now, so many of the homes are falling down and boarded up. We're losing the fabric that holds the community together."
Wilson, who left Akron on a full scholarship to attend the University of Michigan, is not the only member of his family to find success grounded in a humble Akron upbringing. His uncle, Dave Young, graduated from Akron East High School and went on to become one of the Big Ten's all-time leading receivers at Purdue University before being drafted by the New York Giants. His grandmother, Mary Sims, was one of Akron's first prominent African-American real estate agents and lived on Winton Road near Buchtel for over sixty years. Many of the homes that now sit abandoned were sold to growing families by his grandmother in the 80's and 90's. So, when the Abandoned Homes Project asked Wilson to participate in its latest ad campaign, Wilson gladly jumped at the opportunity.
Wilson will lend his voice to a newly-launched awareness campaign titled "It's Not Worth It!" The ad campaign was co-designed by nationally known advertising executive Gary Fox-Robertson, who previously designed ads for McDonald'sand the U.S. Army. The program provides free attorney assistance and helps homeowners develop a comprehensive Prosecution Alternative Plan. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the abandoned homes crisis and inform owners of abandoned homes that cities have had enough and have resorted to fining and, in many cases, jailing those who are responsible for abandoned homes.
The Project is a vocal critic of this practice and argues that there is no evidence that jailing homeowners as a primary means of code enforcement is an effective method of reducing the number of abandoned homes. In fact, according to their research, it only makes the problem worse. They point to cities such as Cleveland, with an estimated 19,000 abandoned homes, as prime examples of the failures of deploying this method as a primary means of code enforcement.
Homeowners facing housing court prosecution or who have received a letter from the Abandoned Homes Project can apply for free assistance at http://www.ahponline.org by clicking the yellow "START HERE" button or can call the Project's Homeowner Assistance Hotline at 216.766.5705. Information is also available on the Abandoned Homes Project's Facebook page.
About the Abandoned Homes Project
Since 2015, the Abandoned Homes Project has invigorated the conversion about changing the way local governments, community development organizations, and residents of urban and rural communities impacted by the abandoned homes crises can work together to solve this critical social issue. We fight for fair and equal justice for owners of abandoned homes while simultaneously developing the technology platforms of tomorrow that will aid local governments nationwide in the fight against blight, increase incoming tax revenues, and predict housing vacancies before they occur. Local governments can learn more by visiting www.ahponline.org and clicking the blue “GOVERNMENT” tab on the home page.