City Council Rental Housing Safety Proposals Update

Hundreds of people attended the March 12 City Council hearing on rental housing safety proposals. After four hours of testimony, it remains indisputable that Omaha is facing a housing crisis with dire consequences for the strength and health of our city. Our community is facing a critical opportunity – and a responsibility – to make meaningful policy changes to eliminate substandard, unaffordable housing.

We invite you to take two actions as a follow-up to the hearing:

  • Visit WeDon’tSlum.com to view photos of slum conditions in Omaha and an interactive map of code violations. Then, share with your networks and on social media to help raise awareness of the prevalence of squalid housing our neighbors endure to keep a roof over their families’ heads.
  • Contact your City Councilmember. Discuss your concerns about unsafe, unhealthy housing conditions in Omaha and the toll they take on our neighbors and our community as a whole. Urge them to partner with community members and housing advocates to develop a proactive property registration and rental inspection system. Omaha’s complaint-based system of rental property code enforcement does not work. It should not be tenants’ responsibility to oversee the adequacy of our city’s rental properties, especially as many face fears of retribution or eviction for filing a complaint.

There is a real social and financial cost directly tied to unsafe, unhealthy housing. We see firsthand how substandard housing conditions contribute to the cycle of poverty, exacerbate chronic health conditions, inhibit child development, deteriorate neighborhoods, and create needless challenges for our neighbors as they work to build independence and opportunity for their families. Stable, affordable housing must be a priority for all of us.