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Tony Talks with Erin Feichtinger and Matt Cavanaugh about housing

Tony Talks   Posted by Tony Vargas · September 22, 2020

On this week’s edition of Tony Talks, I was joined by Dr. Erin Feichtinger of Together Omaha and Matthew Cavanaugh of the Nebraska Housing Developers Association. We talked about the housing in and around Omaha and its intersections with health, wealth, and education.

You can watch the full talk on Facebook, here.

Here are some key takeaways —

  1. The COVID-19 global pandemic has further exposed existing problems in the housing crisis. Those living in low-income housing have continued to seek extra help from the government and local organizations. However, these same systems are seeing a new wave of residents who have never previously looked for housing aid.
  2. As a city, state, and country we took too long to act in terms of housing at the beginning of the pandemic. The moratorium, which prevents eviction due to lack of payment during the pandemic, was implemented too late. Residents who were evicted before action was taken were also those most at risk of COVID-19. This was happening in Omaha as communities of color, specifically in north and South Omaha, were being evicted at higher rates.
  3. Earlier this year I introduced and passed LB1155, which provides $10 million to build middle income housing in dense, urban areas. Two other pieces of legislation that would have helped immensely during COVID-19 were: LB395, introduced by Senator Matt Hansen, which would remove the need to prove extreme cause to reschedule your eviction court, and LB1020, which I introduced, that would have addressed housing discrimination. Unfortunately neither LB395 or LB1020 passed this year.
  4. There are several resources available to those who may be facing eviction or are seeking financial aid.
    1. Nebraska Housing Developers Association offers a variety of resources and you can find more information on their website - https://housingdevelopers.org/
    2. Douglas County has an eviction fund and you can find more information at their website - https://www.douglascounty-ne.gov/coronovirus-relief-fund-information
    3. Legal aid of Nebraska can offer free legal advice if you qualify. You can find more information by calling their helpline at 1-877-250-2016

Legal Aid of Nebraska will also be hosting a luncheon where you can donate and learn more about eviction with their speaker, Matthew Desmond, a best selling author and leading voice in evictions and their impact on poverty. The luncheon is October 8th, 2020 at 12p.m. via Zoom and you can register at their website - https://www.legalaidofnebraska.org/

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