BALTIMORE, Md. — A roof is the most important aspect of a home, protecting everything inside from the elements. It can also be costly to repair or replace, leaving homeowners like Andrew Johnson of Baltimore in dire straits when a roof begins to crumble.

Johnson and his brothers Samuel and Duane are third-generation residents of their home, located in the Greenmount West neighborhood. Johnson is a retired firefighter and Duane is a correctional officer who will retire soon, meaning income is tight for the family.

“We have lived in this neighborhood a long time. It is my hope to be able to pass this house onto my granddaughter, and a new roof would be great to help protect this house for years to come,” said Johnson.

To give a family that has worked to improve its community a helping hand, Four Twelve Roofing selected the Johnson family to be the first recipients of its new Baltimore Roof Trust program. The program was created as a way for the Baltimore City-based contractor to give back to its community by providing free roofs to families.

“Everyone deserves safety and comfort, and through our journey growing a roofing company, we have learned how important a roof can be,” said Shea Frederick, co-founder and partner at Four Twelve. “The whole team at Four Twelve looks forward to the opportunities this project presents to strengthen ties across the city and better the lives of those living in it.”

Four Twelve credits fellow roofing contractor Reliant in Jacksonville, Fla. for the idea and inspiration behind the Baltimore Roof Trust. The Florida roofing company’s own program, Every Shingle Heart, provides free roofs to local families.

“Our friends in Jacksonville have set a tone for local businesses in their area — investing in their community and showing folks what true leadership looks like. We are excited to bring programming like this to Baltimore City,” said Sam Frank, co-founder and partner at Four Twelve.

Four Twelve first began its business in Greenmount West in 2013, so the company felt it was only fitting to launch the Baltimore Roof Trust in the neighborhood. To determine which local family was deserving of a new roof, Four Twelve turned to two nonprofits engaged with the community — Jubilee Baltimore and the Greenmount West Community Association. Both organizations agreed that the Johnsons were the perfect candidates.

Four Twelve began its inaugural project on Nov. 11 and completed the roof replacement just in time for the holidays. ABC Supply Co. and Mule-Hide Products donated the materials for the project.

“I was excited to know there was a company in Baltimore that is making a difference,” Johnson said in a video. “I won’t have to worry about my roof no more.”

Four Twelve plans to donate at least one roof per year through the program. Community members are encouraged to submit nominations at for 2020. To qualify, the family must live in Baltimore City and be deserving of a new roof.