The Omaha Housing Authority has demolished most of its high-density housing developments over the years. Now there’s only one large development left and there are plans to raze the giant low-income housing development.
OHA officials say the Southside Terrace Homes have outlived their usefulness. No matter how much the tenants try to dress them up, they are old and beyond repair.
OHA CEO Clifford Scott said, “The property is 75-years-old. Obviously it has a lot of wear-and-tear. We think we’re going to engage the community and certainly the residents and we're going to look to try to tear it down.”
The South Omaha community has long frowned on the massive 359-unit structure that stretches across some 28 acres. The concentration of poverty and crime seems to have killed any economic development in the area and yet talk of destroying all of this brings mixed reviews from some of those who live there.
Resident Talia Duffer said, “I think it would be a positive move. As far as the negativity: the violence - the gang violence. If they're going to tear them down and it if takes as long as it’s going to take, there could be a smaller community then.”
Ieshia Harris said, “Right now I say no because this is the only place I have right now and it’s just me and my daughter.”
The plan to demolish the old brick buildings is in its early stages but developments like this in Omaha and around the country have been or will be demolished.
Scott said, “We have to obviously get approval from the federal government, HUD. The mayor’s office has to approve the demolition. So it’s going to be between 18 and 24 months before we get formal approval.”
OHA hopes that getting rid of this style of living will benefit the residents and the entire Omaha community.
The Housing Authority will offer other housing opportunities to residents of Southside Terrace well before any demolition begins.