Taking Action for Quality, Affordable Housing

Legislative Bill 136 would help increase affordable housing by providing benefits to housing developers for voluntarily restricting rent on a small percentage of units in multi-family rental residential projects, thereby adding more affordable homes to our city’s housing market. Read our testimony in support of this bill:

Members of the Urban Affairs Committee:

 

I am writing in support of LB 136 on behalf of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and ask that my letter be included in the public record.

 

Habitat Omaha’s vision is, “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” We work toward this goal by creating more opportunities for quality, affordable homeownership in Douglas, Washington and Burt Counties. We also build and renovate houses that are sold to lower-income, first-time homeowners. And we work to make neighborhoods safer by demolishing vacant, blighted structures, and we offer a variety of home improvement loans and services to qualified lower-income households. Since 1984, we’ve served more than 1,500 local families with the help of tens of thousands of volunteers and supporters.

 

We are intimately familiar with the housing needs — and potential — in Omaha and our extended service area, and we aim to build or rehabilitate homes in densely populated neighborhoods to add value to those areas. Across Omaha, we see opportunity to increase affordable housing. Odd sized or smaller lots are often overlooked for development and are currently unbuildable. We would like to see these lots become available to increase affordable housing. LB 136 would help address that. This legislation would require cities to allow additional density and waivers from requirements like parking and setbacks in exchange for a developer voluntarily restricting rents on a relatively small percentage of units in a multi-family rental residential project. Because Nebraska has a shortage of affordable housing, we support any tools that incent affordable housing.

 

While new neighborhoods require new infrastructure such as fire and police, in addition to sanitation and water, building on odd sized or smaller lots in existing neighborhoods would be using public resources already in place, which is an efficiency and cost-saving for tax payers and helps reduce the burden on property taxes.

 

LB 136 would help address an obstacle we have often faced in helping identify and develop affordable housing in our service area. We encourage the Committee to advance it to the full floor for a vote.

 

Thank you for your time and your service to Nebraska. We look forward to working with you to address the pressing need for affordable housing in our service area and across our great state.

 

Sincerely,

 

Amanda Brewer
CEO

We will keep you posted on the developments of this important legislation and how you can help advance it in the Nebraska legislature.