Trotwood tornado survivors get chance to become homeowners

Several organizations are coming together to build houses for families that have been displaced by the Memorial Day tornadoes and want to return to their Trotwood neighborhoods.

The Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation, in conjunction with the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Group and others, will take damaged properties and vacant lots throughout the area to make homes for families as well as prepare them for the home buying process.

“It’s a combination affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization project where we are looking at tornado survivors who were renters at the time of the tornado that have the interest and the ability to become homeowners,” said Laura Mercer, executive director of the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Group.

The Trotwood CIC recently acquired two vacant lots on Marlin Avenue and Strader Drive to begin building the homes. The houses will be built or rehabbed by volunteer build groups from Mennonite Disaster Services and Brethren Disaster Ministries as well as Sinclair Community College.

“The opportunity to build a new home on an empty lot or rehabilitate a home for a resident still displaced by the tornado is one step closer to completing the recovery and moving forward,” said Chad Downing, director of housing for the Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation.

Although both organizations have worked with families impacted by the tornadoes these are the first homes that the groups are bringing to the Trotwood and Harrison Twp. areas specifically for tornado recovery efforts and survivors will have first pick.

Rebuilding and rehab for the properties will be funded by donated funds to the Tornado Survivors’ Pathway to Home Ownership Fund established at The Dayton Foundation. The houses will be sold at market rate prices but will use government resources to assist in lowering the mortgage.

To be considered for one of the houses, case managers notified survivors and encouraged them to apply for appropriately sized spaces that fit the need of their household.

“We’ve had close to 2,100 families that have contacted us that we’ve worked with over the last 20 months. We identified about 18 families that said that they wanted the application,” she said. So far they have received back 14.

While the houses are built, potential homeowners are invited to use resources that prepare them for the homebuying process like budgeting and credit repair with the Homeownership Center of Greater Dayton.

“We’re just having them handle these folks that are tornado survivors just like they would any others, except these guys will get first dibs on the homes we’re building,” Mercer said.

The project stands to have several financial benefits for the homebuyers. “In many cases, residents are starting to recognize that they can become a home buyer and save a couple hundred dollars a month effectively on mortgage, taxes, and insurance versus rent in the community,” Downing said.

Mercer is looking to break ground on the homes in both Trotwood and Harrison Twp. in February.

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