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Homeowners and organizations struggle with debris removal services

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 19:27:27-04

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — In the days after the storm, the city of Omaha sent trucks into neighborhoods to help clear debris from damaged homes, but that assistance has ended and homeowners must look at other options.

  • The nonprofit Christ in Action have stepped up to help with home demolitions, but don't have the resources to take items to the landfill.
  • We asked the city, FEMA, Omaha Rapid Response and Douglas County what they're doing to help as some homeowners can't afford to cover the cost of a dumpster.
  • If you need help with home demolitions, you can contact Christ in Action at 571-358-9242.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

In the days immediately after the storm, the city of Omaha sent large trucks into neighborhoods to help clear debris, but that assistance has ended.

"Everything we do is at no cost no fee to the homeowners. It's just trying to help them,” said Christ in Action staff member, Wayne Cunningham.

Volunteers with Virginia-based nonprofit Christ in Action have stepped up to help with cleanup, but they lack the resources to move material to the landfill and have questions about why the city has stepped down from helping.

"Most towns we go into there's debris haulers that are contracted by the county or city, whichever it may be. But they're just large trucks that come in, we stack it on the curb, and they come along and pick it up,” said Cunningham.

So, while Omaha Rapid Response is helping supply the nonprofit with dumpsters for the time being, paying for a dumpster is an expense that can otherwise fall on the homeowner.

"Several of the homeowners that were working with are not insured and most others are not insured so the cost of that is very cost prohibitive,” said Christ in Action Director of operations, Chris Zitzmann.

Christ in Action says they were hoping the county would secure grant money through FEMA for debris removal services.

"We've been encouraged that FEMA has given them that declaration and it seems for some reason they're not getting the debris removal services that are normally offered in these types of disasters,” said Zitzmann.

We spoke with FEMA who says they do offer reimbursements to state governments to then reimburse local governments for debris removal from public rights of ways.

Because these lots are private property, the city tells me they don't have responsibility to haul away the debris from homes.

But if someone can't afford cleanup, who's responsibility is it?

The city says it isn’t there’s and we’re still waiting to hear back from the county.

If you need assistance with home demolition, you can contact Christ in Action at 571-358-9242.