Today is the final day allowed for residents in the housing units on Kelly Avenue to move out or face prosecution.
On Tuesday, city staff posted orange vacate orders and letters on the doors of some residential units on Kelly Avenue in Old North Dayton. The area was one of the hardest hit parts of the city.
Tuesday evening, people were packing their belongings into cars, into trashcans, after the city of Dayton on Tuesday posted orange vacate orders and a letter on doors saying they have to leave the premises by Friday.
Kelly Avenue resident Becky Poling has been staying at an American Red Cross shelter on Salem Avenue. She has no place to go, or to take her belongings.
“It’s been crazy,” she said. “We got two days to get up out of here, trying to go through things and get things together. ... We just have to start over. Once piece at a time.”
Anita Weaver doesn’t live on Kelly Avenue, but she has been coming out the last two weeks, bringing candles, batteries and other things to help residents.
“Something just brought me to Kelly Avenue to help,” she said. “They’ve stayed here, they’ve stuck it out.”
Now, Weaver fears the fate of those residents.
“They’re going to be homeless. They’re not going to have anyplace to go. You’re going to have more people out on the streets,” Weaver said.
Kelly Avenue resident Vicki Hammond disagrees with the city forcing everyone out, and has promised to challenge the order.
Her landlord fixed the roof and made other repairs, and she said an electrician will be coming out.
“Now they’re saying we’ve got 48 hours to leave. Some of us don’t have nowhere else to go,” she said. “I think they’re wrong. I don’t have no broken windows. I don’t have no structural damage. I don’t have any kind of electrical problems. I’ve got running water and gas.
So what will happen when Friday rolls around?
“Actually, I’ll probably still be here,” Hammond said. “I’ll go to jail, more than likely. Over this. I’ll go to jail over this. Because they’re picking on people. Don’t they think we’ve been through enough?”
Dayton's elected leadership on Wednesday dinged the department of housing inspection for how it ordered residents to vacate their tornado-damaged housing.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the letter residents received were harshly written, which was the wrong tone to take.
“It seemed really hateful, and these folks have been through a lot, so I think we need to be a little more cognizant of how we are delivering messages like this,” Whaley said while addressing the city’s director of planning and community development.
Dayton inspectors went out and reviewed some housing units that were damaged by the tornado and determined they were unsafe because they lacked water service and other utilities, said Todd Kinskey, city planning and community development director.
The orange notices say that presence on the properties is prohibited and violators will be prosecuted.
“I just want us to kind of look at this letter and think about how we communicate,” Whaley said.
EMERGENCY VACATE NOTICE letter: