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Boring Public Meetings: Why You Should Pay Attention

By Lynn Sanchez “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” –Alexis de Tocqueville NEWS FLASH: Local government meetings are as dull as dry toast. But if you want to be “in the room where it happens” sometimes a meeting is that place. So you must develop…

Village Redevelopment Plans for Next Generation

By Lynn Sanchez In 2006, the 60-block area near historic Prospect Hill cemetery was one of the deadliest locations in Omaha. Residents lived in fear of being shot. Many would not allow their children to play outdoors. North Omaha community leaders from the Empowerment Network, Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) and others were concerned and decided to tackle the issue…

Who Are the People In Your Neighborhood Association?

By Lynn Sanchez From Aksarben Heights to Woodlyn Park, most Omaha neighborhoods have a grassroots group of volunteers working with one purpose: to watch out for their neighborhood. Year by year, block by block, they improve, advocate, maintain, protect and connect. “Without neighborhoods, we don’t have a community,” said Precious McKesson, president of North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance (NONA) board. “They’re…

Look Into Homestead Exemptions

By Lynn Sanchez Nebraska homeowners who are most likely to be cost-burdened by property taxes can qualify for up to 100% relief through the “Homestead Exemption” program. Douglas County is actively trying to “grow” the program. Applications are taken between February 1st and June 30st, 2020 for the following year’s (2021) property taxes. “It’s an awesome, awesome program,” said Douglas…

Wayne Hopes “Extremely Blighted” Designation Creates Investment, Ownership

By Lynn Sanchez Senator Justin Wayne is playing the long game. The District 13 representative is reshaping Community Development law to help Omahans struggling to live in the city’s oldest, most dangerous areas to achieve home ownership and get a bigger slice of the economic pie. But it begins with two words some might interpret as negative: “Extremely Blighted.” In…

FHAS 2020 PRE-PURCHASE CLASS SCHEDULE

If you are interested in being a homeowner some day, Family Housing Advisory Services offers regular classes to help with everything you need to know. 

Five Ways to Win at Homeownership

by Lynn Sanchez In mid-December, Metropolitan Community College hosted a public screening of the documentary “Priced Out; 15 Years of Gentrification in Oregon“ to an audience of about 30 viewers. The film was followed by a lively panel discussion with the audience and Amanda Brewer, CEO of Habitat for Humanity; Alexis Bromley Director of ONE Omaha; Teresa Coleman Hunter; CEO…

Tax Certificate Auctions: How They Work

By Lynn Sanchez The Tax Man: Treasurer John Ewing Omahans receive their annual property tax bills in mid-December from the Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing. The Treasurer’s office collects property taxes, vehicle registration fees and permit and licensing fees from county entities such as the Health Department. Because they share space with the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, people often…

Property Taxes 101

Lynn Sanchez No one enjoys paying taxes. But can we all agree it would be near-impossible to sustain city and county services without them? Road construction, sewer maintenance and street lights are all financed in part by your property taxes, which are projected to provide about 16% of the city’s 2020 revenue, or $181,370,252. How Are Property Taxes Figured? It…

North Omaha Residents Offer Affordable Housing Ideas/Solutions

By Dawaune Lamont Hayes Housing affordability affects all people, no matter their income. Change will require a holistic effort founded in community and reflected in government and market policy. If we listen to each other, we might just come up with many solutions. Here are some of the local residents’ ideas from the PRI community meeting:  Evaluate Urban Indian Health…

“Affordable” To Whom? To US!

By Dawaune Lamont Hayes Affordable housing is more than just building new, partially-subsidized single family homes. There must be a variety of housing types across different income levels to ensure people can find adequate shelter to meet their needs.  Omaha is seeing a massive boom in luxury rental development in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Blackstone and Little Bohemia, but as the…

“Affordable” — To Whom?

By Dawaune Lamont Hayes There are a growing number of conversations taking place in cities like Omaha, who are seeing new luxury developments in their urban centers. As rents and buildings rise, people have become especially concerned about affordable housing. The term “affordable” is used regularly by developers, city officials, housing advocates and residents, but what exactly is meant by…

Wealth Gap and Home Ownership

The wealth gap between Whites and Blacks often hinges on home ownership. A 2017 study prepared by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies posits, “Although…disparities are driven by several factors, disparities in homeownership rates account for much of the racial wealth divide. (emphasis added)” Another interesting fact: “In 2015, the federal government spent $51 billion on public housing…


All That Glitters; 45 Years of Block Grants

By Lynn Sanchez. Omaha, the 1970s. Moviegoers thrilled to “Jaws.” Eyebrow grooming was not yet “a thing.” Cell phones were the stuff of sci fi, “Pong” constituted cutting edge gaming technology and the city fathers were worried because downtown had been steadily losing its mojo as the city’s business center. Fifty years ago, neighborhood development was not yet “a thing”…

An American Dilemma; “Eloquent” Racism Through Redlining

  By Terri L. Crawford, JD “Two hundred fifty years of slavery; Ninety years of Jim Crow; Sixty years of separate but equal; Thirty-five years of racist housing policy; Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole” – Ta-Nehisi Coates   America’s public policy practices were distinctly shaped by a pattern of racial politics to…

BRENDA COUNCIL: NORTH OMAHA IS “WHERE I WANT TO BE”

By Lynn Sanchez Since graduating from Creighton law school in 1977, Brenda Council’s life has been a well-chronicled, over-achieving whirlwind of law career, election to local and state government and participation in community and civic organizations. Somehow she also found time for marriage and family.  Council’s trademark large glasses, large smile and unbelievable work ethic became recognizable to most Omahans…

North Omaha History 1940 – 1960

1942- 1945 World War II creates jobs in the armament industry, providing previously unavailable employment opportunities for African Americans and women. Rural Nebraska was a prime area for training, aircraft and armament manufacturing. The Glenn L. Martin Bomber Plant near Bellevue produced over 1,500 medium bombers and more than 500 B-29 Superfortresses, including the plane that dropped the first atomic…