Healthy Homes: Sprucing Up Neighborhoods One House at a Time

Alice, pictured wearing a mask, is relaxing on a chair on her front porch.

A family home. That’s how Alice Poindexter refers to the home at 1022 E. 14th Ave. in the South Linden area. This description is fitting since the walls have now housed several generations of her family.

In 1953, 10-year-old Alice moved into the home with her eight siblings. She and her siblings still enjoy reminiscing about the days when she and her five sisters shared a room and her three brothers shared a room, single beds lined up against the wall.

After graduating from Linden McKinley in 1963, she moved to Denmark, where she met her first husband and began her career teaching kindergarten. All the while, her sister continued living in the family home. When her husband died in 1968, she found herself making her way back to 14th Avenue.

As it tends to do, time has taken its toll on the neighborhood. But now, thanks to the Healthy Homes program, a nonprofit housing organization and partnership between Community Development for All People and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, eligible houses in the neighborhood are getting a facelift.

Alice learned of the program after receiving a flyer in the mail. She didn’t think she would qualify but decided to give it a try. She called and was connected with Patrice Allen Brady, a project manager for the Healthy Homes initiative, who Alice says made the process simple.

“She held my hand throughout the entire process,” she says. “She communicated with me continuously, letting me know when I had been approved, who the contractor would be and when they would be at my house.”

She says the contractor, whom she fondly refers to as “The Boss,” and his crew were “awesome” as well. The Boss walked her through what would happen with each step of the process and encouraged her to call him anytime she had a question. Alice says she’s always been the curious type, so liked watching the crew perform the work, which included new siding, trim and painting her house.

She says, “The workers had a system. They all had their own part but worked well together too. They were also very clean, always cleaning up the yard each day before they left and placing leftover materials off to the side.”

Alice was able to choose the color for her “new” home – a mix between red and burgundy. Her grandson refers to it as farm red. She says she’s no longer ashamed to have friends over. In fact, she tells them to look out for the house number or they might drive right by! She also loves to sit on her front porch and has received numerous compliments as people walk by.

One of Alice’s favorite rooms in her home is her hobby room, where she and her granddaughter sew, and paint and design cards for seniors. Before, she says she never opened the curtains. Now she can look across the street at a beautifully redone home, all thanks to the work of Healthy Homes.

“It gives the whole street a new outlook. I feel like I live in a whole other community. I hope that as homeowners see our houses, they step up to the plate to keep our neighborhood a place people want to live,” says Alice.

Healthy Homes is one pillar of the Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families (HNHF) program, which is composed of Nationwide Children’s, faith-based organizations, community development organizations, workforce development programs, youth-serving nonprofits and local public schools. HNHF recognizes that a person’s ZIP code is a key predictor of their overall health. It aims to improve housing, educational and employment opportunities, and health care accessibility to create positive health outcomes in the community. Since its inception in 2008, Healthy Homes has built or improved more than 400 properties in the area surrounding the hospital. 

Alice’s story has come full circle. From she and her eight siblings to her three daughters and three grandchildren, Healthy Homes is helping houses like the one at 1022 E. 14th Ave. remain a family home.