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Underwood Tower tenants push for in-home assistance to better living conditions

Posted at 11:53 PM, Jun 12, 2024
  • Video shows the Underwood Tower, the Underwood Tenant Association and various in-home assistance available to residents.
  • Michael Coleman, a resident at the Underwood Tower has already submitted his paperwork to receive in-home assistance to help clean out his roach and bed-bug infested home. Now he is waiting to begin his journey to better living inside OHA owned property
  • In order to receive in-home assistance, third party companies must be approved by OHA and state, the process takes between six to eight weeks.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

At the A.V. Sorensen Community Center, the Underwood Tenant Association is looking for other options when it comes to bettering their living conditions. After months of complaining to Omaha Housing Authority property management they are now looking to private companies to step in and assist.

Over the last few months residents have spoken to me about the condition of their apartments inside the Underwood Tower.

"I'm sleeping with dead cockroaches and bed bugs… around my bed," said Michael Coleman, an Underwood Tower resident.

Michael Coleman has lived in the towers for six years. he's gets around in a wheel chair and sometimes cleaning his home by himself is a challenge.

"I swept the floor last night… and i had to sit down because of my back… it hurts me. I'm going to the doctors on Friday to find out what's wrong with my back," said Coleman.

Coleman says he's already put in a referral for his in-home care services to be started and he's ready for everything to be thrown away.

"I can't have no more...like my couch...my bed ...my dresser... and a few other things," said Coleman.

"In home-care services being offered to tenants at the Underwood tower are paid through medicaid. But before any agency can enter OHA properties, they must be approved by OHA and the state.

Johnnie Davis runs one of those companies.

"So no task is too small... just going in and making sure that they are comfortable... because sometimes people are afraid to say they have this problem.. its a lot of just...self-esteem," said Davis.

Many in-home care companies provide many of the same services, some offering meal prepping to even dog walking. For Michael this is beneficial.

I need, I have a hard time cooking, I don't know how to cook that good. I'm just learning and I need help with my laundry," said Coleman.

Coleman submitted his referral three weeks ago and now he's waiting to hear back. For him, this is the first step towards better living.

"But now I got this problem. I need to get a fresh start and stuff like you said. I want a fresh start where i can have my friends and stuff over because I can't do it now.. just can't,"

Davis tells me she is also working with multiple other agencies to take on the project inside the Underwood tower. She says their goal is to work through the summer to ensure residents are comfortable inside their homes by the fall.