As Winter Sets In, So Do Worries For Many In Old North Dayton With Tornado Damage

Dec 23, 2019

Seven months since the Memorial Day tornadoes left a path of devastation across the Miami Valley, some residents in Old North Dayton are struggling to return to normal and many homes that suffered damage in the storm remain covered with tarps or sit in disrepair.

After the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, many Old North Dayton residents donated to their neighborhood association instead of giving to regional or national groups such as the Red Cross or the Dayton Foundation.

Old North Dayton Neighborhood Association President Matt Tepper says he heard from many in the community who said they wanted their money to stay local.

“These people were insistent that they give the money to the neighborhood, and that it impacts the neighborhood directly,” he said.

The home on the left is close to completely restored, but no repairs have been made to the damaged home on the right.
Credit Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Since then, the association has partnered with area churches and other nonprofits to help half a dozen families fix their roofs, but Tepper says there are more than 20 other occupied homes with tarps on top.

Officials say repairing damaged roofs now can prevent further damage down the road as winter sets in, and give residents more time to find the resources they may need to rebuild.

“The one gap that revealed itself was a lack of permanent roof repairs for the winter. By repairing the roofs, we assure their house is going to be there in the spring, and then hook them up with the process through which they can get longterm assistance,” said Tepper.

A common sight in the neighborhood are houses with brand-new roofs and boarded-up windows or aluminium siding dangling from the walls, as many residents who lacked homeowners insurance work gradually through the repairs they can afford.

The neighborhood association reports it's used up most of the donations it collected in the wake of the disaster, but organizers say they’re continuing to connect struggling families with help.

Tepper urges tornado victims in need to call 2-1-1, a recovery helpline that can provide residents with a comprehensive list of services that may be available to them.