North and her grandson were able to walk away unscathed, but the apartment was a total loss and North was subsequently homeless for the following 10 months.
“I had to start all over,” she said. “I lost everything.”
North said she’s thankful for the opportunity and, as a grandmother of 13, is looking forward to spending quality time with her family in her new home.
“To get this house will mean everything,” she said.
The Tornado Survivors Pathway program is funded by private donations, Montgomery County HOME funds, federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Reconstruction funds, and with the help of local education institutions. Currently, 16 homes are in construction or have been recently completed within Trotwood, Harrison Twp., and the city of Dayton as a result of the program.
The Pathway program was developed to provide qualified tornado survivors the opportunity to become homeowners. Interested applicants work with the HomeOwnership Center to become mortgage-ready, while a team of skilled volunteers either construct a home on a vacant lot or rehab an existing home donated by a jurisdiction or the Montgomery County Land Bank.
“The Pathway project is both an affordable housing project and a neighborhood stabilization project,” said Laura Mercer, former executive director for the Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group.
The program is the result of collaborative efforts by dozens of partnerships led by County Corp, a local nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing and economic programs.
Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald was in attendance for Wednesday’s open house and praised the project.
“Every opportunity that we have to bring citizens back to the city of Trotwood (who left) as a result of the tornado is a phenomenal success,” she said. “And the opportunity to share in homeownership gives each person that feeling that they own a piece of the city of Trotwood.”