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Sarpy County organization makes difficult calls as Emergency Rental Assistance Program ends in Nebraska

Posted at 6:47 PM, Oct 03, 2022

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) — A day of difficult phone calls.

"These are all the phone calls we have to make today to notify families that it's October and your rent is not getting paid," Tanya Gifford, executive director of Lift Up Sarpy County, said.

About a month ago, the state told Lift Up Sarpy County they would receive over a million dollars from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

And about a week ago they found out that money would no longer be coming.

"Right now it is a lot of disbelief. A lot of these people have already gotten rental assistance in months prior to this, so they just never would have anticipated to be told a week before October that their rent wasn't going to get paid for this month," Gifford said.

Putting their clients in touch with other resources has been difficult.

"We are all in the same boat, we were all applying for those housing stability funds and so when I say it's difficult just for our clients, it's difficult for all the agencies within Sarpy County," Gifford said.

Lift Up Sarpy County has helped more than 50 working families and individuals from those impacted by the 2019 floods to COVID-19 and it's not specific to one area of Sarpy County.

Come November first many could face homelessness.

"We do not have any shelters and we don't have any type of transitional low-income affordable housing available at all right now," Gifford said.

Meaning many could find their way to Douglas County. Steve Frazee with Open Door Missions said they are ready.

"We are prepared to help people like we always have, and to do that, we never stopped being prepared," Frazee said.

An organization that helps people on their worst days, now feeling somewhat helpless themselves.

"In a time where, I mean the community has really came together over the past two years. It just feels hopeless right now, because we don't have enough resources to fix this," Gifford said.

Lift Up Sarpy County said the only help it can offer is to assist those families through the eviction process.

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