What can you get done in a week?
That's all it's taking to transform one Omaha neighborhood from blighted to delighted.
It's a sight we see too often...boarded up and abandoned homes. They create an eye sore that drags a neighborhood down.
But at 18th and Corby, that's rapidly changing.
Thanks to a building blitz by Habitat for Humanity.
They are building nine new homes and renewing this neighborhood in several ways.
“I was talking to one of the neighbors on the block and she was telling me she was looking to move, she's renting her house and she said that she didn't feel very safe,” Tracie McPherson of Habitat for Humanity said. “And one thing that I told her was that now she's going to have a lot of neighbors and a lot of people watching what's going on in the block and when people move on to a particular block, criminals don't want to be there. They're being watched. So they'll be able to look out for one another.
Volunteers are donating their time and skills by building the homes in just five days.
“Look at it...I mean its hard to explain,” Jason Nihsen of JE Dunn Construction said.” Look at what we did do and you can understand that it was great for the neighborhood to get a little revitalization. That definitely was needed.
So why we don't see a building blitz more often in some parts of the city? A lot of it has to do with the owners of abandoned homes and vacant lots and getting them to turn the property over to Habitat For Humanity.
“It's got to be tough to be able to acquire a ground like this to call a blitz where we can have a block that we can block off streets and really keep people safe to be able to keep them close together,” Nihsen said. “I wouldn't want that job.”
more than a million dollar investment in an area that needs it.
“It's about changing the community,” McPherson said.
More than two hundred volunteers and employees from nine area construction companies donated their week to building the houses.
Now, that two block stretch of Corby has only one abandoned house left.