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City of Omaha seeks public input in developing plan to address housing challenges

The city planning department will hold public meetings this week
Posted at 10:35 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 23:47:35-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Tracie McPherson of Habitat for Humanity Omaha said the need for affordable housing this year has been too much to bear at times.

Habitat's home-ownership program has seen overwhelming interest.

"We got over 3,000 phone calls. I believe we crashed the phone system 4 times." McPherson said. "That tells you the desperation people are feeling over their housing needs."

McPherson added the pandemic along with its after-effects have led to a low inventory of homes. This has led to higher prices.

Many homeowners she said have gone into debt while trying to make ends meet.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 30% of a household's income should be going to housing.

"We're seeing up to 60% of a household income go towards housing needs," said McPherson.

The City of Omaha is giving residents a chance to speak their minds on how it should move forward on a proposed solution.

The proposed solution is called the Omaha Housing Affordability Action Plan, a guide that will be used to direct future decisions on housing.

Grace Thomas lives in South Omaha and said the housing problem is widespread. It affects many people in different ways.

"I have friends who've been wanting to purchase a house for several years now can't afford to," said Thomas. "I also know folks who are being priced out of their neighborhoods."

Thomas said she'd like to see the city allow for more townhouses, duplexes, and multi-family homes, as opposed to single-family units. She wants to see these ideas put into action.

"I'm really hoping for a plan that gets implemented and doesn't sit on the shelf," Thomas said.

Action is something McPherson said many in Omaha will have to take to stand the best chance at solving the housing problem.

"It is not going to be one person or one organization who comes up with a housing solution. It's going to take all of us collectively to figure out what's the best solution for this," said McPherson.

A survey is available online for people to give their feedback as part of the Omaha Housing Affordability Action Plan. Take it by clicking here.

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