Community Gem: Dayton woman works to help those in low income housing have better standard of living

Daj'za Demmings, right and her stepdaughter, Adrielle Tolentino enjoy time together at Wholly Grounds Coffee House in Dayton. STAFF/JIM NOELKER
Caption
Daj'za Demmings, right and her stepdaughter, Adrielle Tolentino enjoy time together at Wholly Grounds Coffee House in Dayton. STAFF/JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

DAYTON — Daj’za Demmings of West Dayton is no stranger to helping others in her community and is currently working to help low income Daytonians have a better standard of living.

Demmings recently helped several families who had been living in an apartment building on Linda Vista and were evacuated after “horrific” living conditions were discovered there by city officials.

“We just want to step in and be who we can for who we can,” Demmings said.

Demmings was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by her younger sister Damia Demmings of Dayton.

“I’ve seen her take a leadership role in the community. She’s the kind of leader that looks at things from a different perspective and makes sure everyone is okay with the plan,” Damia Demmings said. “She’s very passionate about what she does and the people she’s working to help.”

St. Vincent de Paul paid for those families to stay in a hotel for two or three days, but the city deemed the apartment as “disgusting, but still livable,” Demmings said, so the families were sent back. There was no power or gas in the apartments. Demmings and the Dayton Young Black Professionals paid for 12 of the families, or about 30 people, to stay in a hotel on Miller Lane for an additional week.

Demmings said she has helped three families fill out paper work to get housing since then.

“I’m really big on not trying to make people feel like I’m doing something for them, but doing something with them,” Demmings said.

Demmings is vice chair of the Dayton Human Relations Council, part of the Dayton African Elders Council, the National Council of Negro Women, NAACP and on the board of the Dayton Leadership Academy.

“I want to make sure our future leaders are prepared to be change makers in whatever space they’re in,” Demmings said. “I just want to be the domino effect, you never know when you’re going to be that domino to push the other dominos down. Just making sure that me being in the position I am in, I’m able to do that.”

Demmings said she plans to take flyers to other low income housing units in the Dayton-area to let them know what they do and don’t have to deal with.

“That one building is just one of hundreds like it in Dayton,” Demmings said. “We need to let (those residents know) know what is acceptable.”