#WEDONTSLUM calls attention to Omaha slum lords

Posted at 6:51 PM, Feb 19, 2019

OMAHA, NEB. (KMTV) — A group of community leaders launched a new website in hopes of ending sub-standard living conditions in Omaha.

The website calls attention to the problem organizations Omaha Together One Community and Restoring Dignity say is more widespread than people think.

The website #WEDONTSLUM is a place for people to anonymously post pictures of dilapidated housing in Omaha. Pictures on the website currently show homes infested with rodents, leaky windows, and moldy walls.

“In the past six months alone I have visited hundreds of rental homes across Omaha,” Hannah Wyble, Restoring Dignity said. “While I wish I could say unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions across Omaha is an anomaly, I cannot. The majority of the housing I have seen is unsafe and unfit for human habitation.”

Wyble said these are not uncommon living conditions for the refugees she works with every day. She said families tell her they don't want to live this way, but they don't know what to do.

“They are angry because they have been reporting things repeatedly to maintenance for years,” Wyble said. “Nobody comes and fixes anything. What we are seeing is people who are feeling discouraged, like they are not being listened to, and they feel powerless.

The new website is designed to give people a voice.

“If you can't see something, you can't really believe it,” Wyble said. “My hope is all of these citizens in Omaha who aren't living in substandard conditions can start to see what tens of thousands of people in Omaha are living in and they will become outraged.”

Outraged enough, she hopes, they call lawmakers and ask for changes like a landlord registry.

“Registration and inspection creates a healthier market not a more expensive market,” Dennis Walsh, Omaha Together One Community said.

He hopes change comes at a city level, but if city council doesn't act soon, to change these living conditions they support changes in state law.

Mayor Stothert said she just submitted a proposal today for the law department to write.

It includes a free mandatory registration for all landlords and targets those who have had code violations within the last three years.

"At the end, we want something that works for Omaha,” Stothert said. “We want that it is enforceable, we want that it is financially feasible for the city too."

She said city council should get her proposal within the next couple of weeks.