In spring 2010, the Greater Omaha Chamber, in partnership with community leaders and organizations, completed the South Omaha Development Project Master Plan. The planning process included considerable community engagement and input and resulted in a document that outlines several recommendations for strengthening and growing South Omaha. In the plan, a particular call to action is outlined regarding housing. The plan identified significant housing challenges facing South Omaha including: rehabilitation and renovation; demolition and new construction; small lot sizes and configurations; financing issues, diversity in the needs for different housing types and sizes, etc. Over the last year and a half, the Chamber has engaged numerous stakeholders in the housing development and financing professions to understand South Omaha’s housing needs and opportunities.

To bring our community closer to a housing solution, the Chamber’s community development team recently issued a request for proposal to conduct a housing demand assessment and develop a comprehensive housing strategy for South Omaha. In an effort to maximize limited resources and provide focus, the assessment will target a smaller area within South Omaha, specifically the area from the Missouri River to the Kennedy Expressway and from L Street to approximately Center Street. While this does not cover the entire geography of South Omaha, it is a starting point. Hanna:Keelan Associates, P.C., a community planning and research firm, was selected to provide consulting services for the assessment and strategy. For the next few months, we will conduct a community engagement process that incorporates gathering data, engaging stakeholders and community leaders, and determining a secure housing strategy. Through this project we hope to identify or create a strong housing organization that will implement the strategy.

In the next few days, you should receive a survey in the mail. We greatly appreciate your willingness to complete and return the survey by April 12. As a South Omaha resident and/or property owner, your response is valued. The data you provide will help create a solid plan to address South Omaha’s housing needs.

If you would rather share your feedback in person, you are encouraged to attend one of the following three upcoming listening sessions on Thursday, April 12:

• Saint Joseph Tower, Angel’s Loft (15th Floor), 2205 S. 10th St., 10a.m. – noon
• One World Community Health Centers, Conference Room, 4920 S 30th St., Rm. #103, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
• Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Tree Top’s Restaurant, 3701 S. 10th St., 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

We look forward to your participation in this important community endeavor! For more information contact JoAnna LeFlore at 402-978-7956 or jleflore@omahachamber.org.

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