Kelly Avenue tornado survivors forced to leave condemned homes

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dozens of residents who live on the north side of Kelly Avenue recieved a 48-hour notice to vacate their home. After the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, buildings there were damaged and lost access to utilities.

Todd Kinskey, with Dayton Planning and Community Development, told city commissioners Wednesday morning that the city was contacted by the Red Cross with concerns that the homes were unsafe. Inspectors from the city were sent and determined the homes would need to be condemned until needed repairs are made. 

“This was just an emergency response request for concern of the safety for folks that are there,” Kinskey said.

Orange signs are now posted threatening arrest for anyone still living in their homes come Friday. A letter from the city explaining the buildings would be boarded. Mayor Nan Whaley expressed concern over the way the housing inspection division informed resident during Wednesday morning’s meeting.

“Just to be frank, it seemed really hateful. These folks have been through a lot, so I think we need to be a little more cognoscente of how we’re delivering messages,” Whaley said.

Cory Davidson survived the fierce tornado. Now she has no idea where she’ll go. 

“I put my stuff in storage. I don’t even know where I’m going to go yet. It’s just sad,” Davidson said.

Davidson said its unfair the city isn’t giving landlords more time to fix things. She walked 2 News through her apartment that she said was livable despite a loss of electricity. Her windows are boarded up but she said her landlord had already started on plans to make the cosmetic repairs that her unit needs. 

“My landlord was here seven hours after the tornado and was here cleaning up. I just don’t agree with any of it,” Davidson said.

Cherish Cronmiller with Miami Valley Community Action Partnership said the eviction notices came as a surprise to her team.

“The tornado was bad enough, living a low income life is bad enough,” Cronmiller said.

Miami Valley Community Action Partnership was on Kelly Avenue all day Wednesday helping people through the moving process. They’ll have volunteers come out to move people as well. 

“We help process the whole fiscal portion of that, getting the security deposit, first month’s rent, negotiating with the landlord,”  Cronmiller said.

Understanding what’s happening can be difficult for those here with disabilities. Cronmiller said that she had to break the news to an elderly woman who couldn’t understand why she had to leave her longtime home.

“It takes a little more time for them to process what some of this means and it takes a little more hand holding to explain what’s happening,” Cronmiller said. 

Cronmiller explained that while some homes may not have sever structural damage, having boarded up windows creates a safety hazard in case of an emergency. 

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