OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The City of Omaha has more than $22 million to help people with rent and other bills.
Alena Spears was experiencing home instability. She is a mother of five who moved to Omaha and into the Lydia House to give her kids a better life.
"The owners decided to not renew my lease and we were going to be homeless. By word of mouth, this seemed more fitting for us than to just have my kids out there especially at the peak of the pandemic," said Spears.
She was able to get money from the COVID Relief Fund.
"We'd probably still be trying to live with family and dealing with overcrowded and unsafe environments due to the pandemic," Spears said. "It if wasn't for the Open Door Mission and the Lydia House, I am just so very thankful."
You can apply for the rent recovery program as an individual or get help from a non-profit organization.
"They almost made it too easy, all I had to do was provide a few documents," added Spears.
With so many people homeless or on the brink of homelessness, rent recovery programs are offering options to those in need.
"They provided the deposit and two months' rent for me and my children to move into a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment," adds Spears.
"Keeping people in their house during a pandemic is not only good for the public health response but it also takes some of the pressure off emergency shelters or street outreach teams because fewer people are becoming homeless," said Randy McCoy, Executive Director of MAACH.
The pandemic added to the burden and problem of paying rent. It is a problem here in Nebraska as well as across the country.
"There was a significant number of people that were on the edge anyway. Some estimates put it that 50% of renters in the metro area are rent-burdened which means they are paying more than 30% of their income towards rent and many thousands paying 50% or more of income towards rent," added McCoy.
"It was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. They were excited to have their own rooms, their own space. Just to have a bit of normalcy back into our lives, we were so grateful," continued Spears.
The money has to be distributed by the end of the year.
Last year MAACH assisted people facing homelessness with about $10 million.
If you need help with rent or other bills, contact: