Brethren Disaster Ministries among groups building new homes for Ohio tornado survivors

Brethren Disaster Ministries is one of the organizations working with the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group to build homes for tornado survivors in Trotwood, Ohio. A groundbreaking took place April 14 on the first two Trotwood homes as part of the Tornado Survivors Pathway to Homeownership Project (Pathways Project).

The two homes are adjacent on Marlin Avenue. One home will be a rehab of an existing structure by Brethren Disaster Ministries and Presbytery of the Miami Valley, and the second will be new construction by Mennonite Disaster Services.

The Pathways Project was developed to provide qualified tornado survivors, who are not currently homeowners, the opportunity to become homeowners. Interested applicants work with the HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton to become mortgage ready while volunteer teams construct or rehab homes on properties donated by the jurisdictions.

Photo courtesy of Montgomery County, Ohio

“Brethren Disaster Ministries is proud to be part of this program that has developed as an incredible collaboration with so many local and national partners in Montgomery County,” said director Jenn Dorsch-Messler. “It provides a way to build back better from the tornados to help renters return to the neighborhoods they call home, but also improving the quality of the community housing overall. We are excited to serve this group of disaster survivors in ways they are not often served in other recoveries.”

The Presbytery of the Miami Valley and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance are partnering with Brethren Disaster Ministries for the rehab of the first house. Said Terry Kukuk, Executive Presbyter: “The objectives of the Presbytery of the Miami Valley include connecting congregations in mission, addressing how systemic poverty and structural racism contribute to housing needs, and alleviating stress on families and communities while helping to build resilience. The Presbytery is thankful that we can support the Pathways program with both financial resources and local volunteers.”

Jim Kirk, executive director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, expressed thanks for the partnerships. “At a time of limited resources and overwhelming need it is crucial to use resources in a way to address systemic issues such as providing a pathway for homeowners for those impacted by a disaster.”

“The Pathways Project leverages the talents of volunteer build teams and the expertise and resources of community organizations to transform vacant lots and structures into new homes that will enable qualified tornado survivors to become homeowners,” said Laura Mercer, Miami Valley Long Term Recovery executive director. “These two homes are the first of many that will be built in Trotwood and we are excited to continue to help the community recover and thrive.”

To support this effort financially, give to the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund at


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