DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Some residents who returned to their houses and apartments on Kelly Avenue after the tornadoes are now scrambling to find a place to live after a majority of homes in the area were condemned.
By Thursday, most of the apartment units on the street were empty, boarded up, and almost ready to be torn down.
“There’s no structural damage done to my apartment,” says resident Jake Tipton. “There is a tree there, but since I was not able to be contacted – they knocked on my door but I wasn’t there – they put the letter there automatically.”
Darrell Wilkinson is a few units up the street. He, too, was caught off guard by the letters and signs warning him that if he stays, he could be arrested and fined.
“Outside of a busted window, I sustained minimal damage. I was coming home from work, waiting for the power to come on. Then I came home from work and had a sign on my door,” he said.
Like his former neighbors, Wilkinson is couch surfing, and doesn’t understand why he has to leave, saying no one went inside to check the house to see if it was livable.
“They said it is uninhabitable. But no one came into my apartment,” Wilkinson says.
Most people that once called this block home just wanted more than 48 hours to leave. Mayor Nan Whaley after Wednesday’s city commission meeting said a different approach could have been used.
“We can’t have them living in condemned houses. We have to do that at the recommendation of the Red Cross. We worked closely with them, but maybe we could say it nicer. We will work on that,” she said.
Several residents say they have access to basic utilities, and would simply like more time to find better housing.