News3 News Now Investigators


Nonprofit home preservation project goes awry, Bellevue business owner hopes fix comes soon

Posted at 6:54 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 19:54:05-05

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — Amanda Wright’s Bellevue home could have used a renovation.

So this summer she applied for a zero-interest loan through Habitat for Humanity of Omaha’s home improvement program.

For families that qualify, it helps “families maintain their homes and to keep the community thriving,” the nonprofit’s website says.

But Wright says the project took a turn for the worse last October when renovations began too early. She now lacks a way to access her front door, a porch, and a retaining wall.

In October, she received a text – informing her that work was set to begin the next day. She had recently been informed that due to a backlog, work would begin in the spring, and she had provided a list of questions, she said. She assumed work meant visiting the property to address the questions.

Instead, she found workers there removing parts of her home’s exterior without all the necessary paperwork.

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha admits an error.

“We had a miscommunication with the contractor,” said Tracie McPherson, Habitat for Humanity Omaha’s public relations director. “We gave the contractor the green light to start the work before all the paperwork was completed.”

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha completes about 70 of these projects a year, McPherson said. She said this incident was a one-off.

Wright continued to be frustrated with the communication with Habitat after the initial mistake. Some of her clients recommended she call a television station as a last resort.

She said things started to change for the better once 3 News Now Investigators started asking questions. It started with her property being cleaned up.

But she says the situation has impacted her business – she gets fewer calls and some clients ask if she’s closed. And she says the stress of the situation impacts her work.

“This project is taking up a lot of mental space for me,” Wright said. “And I don’t have the capacity to do it at this point.”

McPherson said Habitat for Humanity is working hard to make sure Wright is happy with the end result.

Wright and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha are still negotiating details on the project and the problem's solution – and Wright says she's still looking for clarity on how much she'll owe.

Habitat for Humanity tells us they worked hard to communicate with her as they were resolving the problems.

They say they had difficulty getting the original contractor to clean up because Wright wouldn't let the contractor back on site.

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