DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On Wednesday, Disaster Aid Ohio began building the first of 8 homes for tornado survivors in Dayton. Disaster Aid Ohio is an Amish disaster response group, and the build for qualified people is also part of the Tornado Survivor Pathway to Homeownership Project.

Volunteers with Disaster Aid Ohio working on one of 8 homes being built for tornado survivors (above).

“The Tornado Survivor Pathway to Homeownership Program is for qualified renters that were impacted by the tornado to have the opportunity to become home owners by purchasing a home at market rates,” said Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group Executive Director Laura Mercer.

The project is being led by County Corp, which is an affordable housing nonprofit organization. The HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton, Montgomery County and other community partners are also assisting in the build. “We lost about 1500 units of affordable rental housing in terms of apartment complexes that were destroyed that are not being rebuilt. That’s made it really challenging for people to find a home base to call home for the future,” said Mercer.

Along with need for housing, project leaders also say there are other struggles tornado survivors face. “There still really though is a need for mental health treatment. There’s still people who react in a bad way when they hear a bad storm is coming. That’s just kinda a PTSD of the storms,” said County Corp Vice President of Housing Adam Blake.

These new homes come in the wake of the May 2019 tornadoes which ripped through many parts of Dayton and the Montgomery County area.

The goal of the Pathway Project is to provide qualified tornado-impacted renters a chance to have a home of their own. To apply, applicants begin a process through The HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton to make themselves mortgage-ready. As this process goes on, volunteer builders then get to work constructing or renovating homes on the property that was donated by the jurisdictions.

For people, organizations, or businesses wanting to financially support the Pathway Project with materials, home sponsorship, and other professional services, you’re encouraged to contact Laura Mercer at

If you are a tornado survivor who wants to apply for the Pathway Program, click here.