New housing complex for homeless veterans opens in Omaha

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 1:28 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Roughly 20% of the homeless population in the country is veterans. Those leading the charge to end veteran homelessness in Omaha hope a new community housing complex will help put a dent in that statistic.

Victory II Apartments recently opened its doors. The building, formerly home to part of Grace University, was renovated into 60 studio and one-bedroom apartments for homeless and at-risk veterans. There is also a community gathering area, laundry facilities, a gymnasium and a fitness center. Victory II sits right next to Victory Apartments which houses 90 units. A third such complex is in Lincoln and has 70 units.

“It’s a great time to get many of our veterans who wore the uniform out of the shelter or another program and into a place they can call home,” said Tom York, the property manager.

He says veterans who live in these complexes not only have a roof over their heads, but they also have access to on-site services like counseling, health and wellness, and job training.

“Their tour of duty is over, and getting them housed and allowing for them to work with social workers and case managers and people with the VA, who help find them jobs, is critical,” said York.

He says there’s a big push to end veteran homelessness and a big need for these housing projects. The first Omaha Victory Apartments filled up fast and he’s expecting Victory II will, too.

“After we get this occupied I know we’re going to have a waiting list for veterans that are still needing to be housed somewhere,” he said.

The VA, along with the Omaha Housing Authority, process and approve applications, and the rent is based on the veteran’s income.

York says it’s always a special day when they can say “welcome home” to their new residents.

“We bring them in here and we show them an apartment and they are just wowed over the fact that ‘this is all for me?’ I’ve seen a few of them get very emotional and have to take a moment to gather themselves. It’s very touching and does so much for them.”

York said several organizations and businesses stepped up to help with the project, including PenFed Credit Union which bought about $40,000 worth of furniture for the apartments.

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