Area residents who were affected by the 15 Memorial Day tornadoes that caused destruction in several Miami Valley communities could get up to $1,000 in grants from area real estate associations.
Dayton Realtors, Ohio Realtors and the Midwestern Ohio Association of Realtors will give Ohioans whose primary residence was damaged in Montgomery, Greene and Mercer counties up to $1,000, thanks to a $300,000 grant from the National Association of Realtors, said Ohio Realtors spokesman Carl Horst.
The money can be used to pay the mortgage on a primary residence that was damaged during one of the May 27 tornadoes or pay rent on a displacement residence for those who have had to move from their home because of the tornadoes, said Ohio Realtors President Anjanette Frye.
“Dayton’s been devastated by not one tornado but multiple tornadoes, in an unusual event, and many, many of our neighbors and friends, and businesses and community leaders have been rendered homeless, without places to go to work, without places to seek shelter,” Frye said.
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Frye, Horst and other leaders of Ohio Realtors began talking May 28 about what they could do to help and reached out to the Dayton Realtors, who had already started some initiatives. The two groups, along with the Midwestern Ohio Association of Realtors that represents Mercer County, drafted a grant proposal that was submitted Friday to the National Association of Realtors. By Monday morning the grant request was approved.
“NAR turned it around in record time,” Horst said.
The National Association of Realtors Housing Disaster Relief Fund grants must be given to people who live in places that are considered in a state of emergency, Horst said, including those in Montgomery, Greene and Mercer counties.
Households can apply at a link that will be live this afternoon on www.ohiorealtors.org, and Dayton Realtors members will be at pop-up locations and passing out applications to be mailed.
Trustees of Ohio Realtors charitable foundation will begin reviewing the applications as soon as they come in. Deadline to apply is August 16.
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“We want to try to expedite the funding and the grant application process as quickly as possible so that we can turn around and get the checks back and the money in the hands of the people who have been affected,” Horst said.
The Ohio real estate organizations have also raised an additional $25,000 and plan to continue sharing stories and visuals of the tornado destruction with members of the three participating organizations to grow the funds, Horst said. That money can be used on a case-by-case basis to help others who may not qualify for the grant money because they live in Miami County or need money for their insurance deductible rather than mortgage or rent.
“When you go to drive past downtown and you start to see some of the damage from the tornado, it kind of hits you in the face,” Frye said. “For people around the state who are not used to seeing some of the damage, some of the videos and pictures are really telling, and then the stories.”
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At least 631 homes in Montgomery County are unlivable as a result of the storm. In total, 2,550 homes and 173 businesses were affected, according to previous reporting from the Dayton Daily News. In Greene County, 45 buildings were destroyed, 165 had major damage and another 943 were affected or had minor damage.
“It makes you proud to be a Daytonian and see all these people stepping up and giving back to the people who need it,” said Jan Leverett, president of Dayton Realtors. “Realtors are always there in your community, whether it’s selling your home or looking to get you into a business, and we’re here when times get tough.”
The Dayton Realtors have been donating food and water and collecting donations into its foundation for victims of the tornadoes.
“This is grassroots. This is our home, and it’s our opportunity to give back to those people who have given to us,” Leverett said.
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