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'Unsafe and unhealthy environment:' City of Omaha forces residents to vacate apartment building

Posted at 6:51 PM, Aug 14, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Residents at an apartment complex near Saddle Creek and Lafayette were given just under a week to vacate their homes.

City of Omaha Chief Housing Inspector Scott Lane spoke with 3 News Now over the phone. He says that the reason for the shutdown is that it's an incredibly unsafe and unhealthy environment for people to live in.

"Leaky plumbing all over the wall, no insulation on the walls, the roaches were — we've kicked them back quite a bit but they are just so tough," said resident Christopher Hall.

All main entryway handles are also broken, which means anyone can enter the building anytime. Many have taken shelter in the vacant rooms and in the basement.

Tecoria Strother is another paying resident, who says she isn't shocked she has to leave, but is upset.

"My focus right now is just finding better housing, somewhere safe. Talking to my family about it," she said. "And I just want a better place."

Hall says he feels like he's been taken advantage of.

"But this place is like — we knew it was a trap," he said.

A week ago, a fire broke out in one of the vacant rooms. A friend of Strother's says this is what finally caught the city inspector's attention.

"She definitely deserves better than this, you know, because she's a real good person," said her friend, Charles Phillip.

Strother told 3 News Now that five people pay rent at the property. For her, she might have to move in with her sister temporarily.

Hall says he doesn't know yet what he and his wife will do, except maybe 'tough it out.'

3 News Now reached out to the current property owner and the person who answered said they'd pass along the message.

With the move-out set for Tuesday, residents like Strother and Hall are still looking for answers but they're trying to stay positive.

Lane told 3 News Now that, while residents won't be able to live there, they'll be given one to two weeks to gather their things. Relocation help is also available.

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