Nearly a year ago, a construction team made a disturbing discovery while scouting a potential housing site for Habitat Omaha. A homeless man was frozen to death. He was not wearing a coat or shoes despite the extreme weather.
A year later, that house was demolished by Habitat Omaha.
There are many angles to consider but when it comes down to it, tearing down an eyesore and abandoned home in any community is a positive. “It's a great way to end the year, for renewal, it's a great symbol for the New Year, for really doing as much as we can in the neighborhoods,” Amanda Brewer said. Brewer is Executive Director with Habitat Omaha.
However, buried deep inside the rubble of what once a house near 25th and Binney Monday, Dan Brewer, Director of Construction of Habitat Omaha, said was a reminder of why he helps rebuild neighborhoods one house at a time.
"In walking through the house I discovered Norman Kuhl had gone in there sometime, don't know how long he had been in there but he was frozen to death,” Brewer said. Brewer was scouting the home being torn down last year, when he found the homeless man's body.
It was a familiar situation -- abandoned homes attracting squatters and criminal activity.
That is why Habitat Omaha fought nearly a year to buy the property, capping off a year that yielded 40 homes demolished and 31 rebuilt.
Three years ago, Mustafa Hassan moved into a home next door. It was also a Habitat Omaha home. "This is my life, home. I am very happy living in this house. I hope the next two years; maybe they will get another family to enjoy Habitat,” Hassan said.
As the last of the pieces of this house come down here near 25th and Binney, organizers said it would be a couple years before a house is actually built tell me it will be a few years before a house would actually be built there, but it was a strong start for 2013.