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District 2 citizens weigh in on how to use ARPA funding

Posted at 6:56 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 07:56:34-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The City of Omaha is getting $112 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, and some city councilmembers are asking the public where they think that money should go.

On Thursday, constituents of Councilmember Juanita Johnson shared how the pandemic has affected them and how federal dollars should be used to help them recover.

Some of the needs for district two citizens are familiar to all districts of Omaha, such as better access to mental healthcare.

"People are experiencing isolation, high anxiety, they are often lonely," said one citizen.

For many, financial stress is playing a huge role in their mental health.

"People would be able to relieve some of that stress if they could make a livable wage," another citizen said.

The community agreed that more high-paying jobs would be good for North Omaha, and Johnson said good transportation could also bridge some of those economic gaps.

"They've not had an equal opportunity to get to high-paying jobs in other sections of Omaha," Johnson said.

Others say the money should be going to grassroots organizations and feel like there may be too many nonprofits residing in North Omaha.

"I don't want to have a nonprofit, because I don't want to reinvent the wheel of what I feel like is taking over the business aspect of North Omaha," another citizen said.

Councilmember Johnson says she'll be thinking more on these issues and hopes to hear more suggested solutions from the people in her district.

"We really had that real talk, real change discussion this evening," Johnson said.

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