Affordable housing in Omaha’s midtown area to be no more than $450-$750 dollars

As prices for everything skyrocket, it's hard for people to keep up. Especially when it comes to keeping a roof over your head.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As prices for everything skyrocket, it’s hard for people to keep up.

But new housing developments in the midtown area are expected to bring some relief, especially for low-income individuals like Melissa Smith.

Smith knows all too well what it’s like to face housing insecurity.

“I’ve lived in about twelve different buildings all my life,” said Smith, who’s 33 years old and a mother of five.

Born and raised in Omaha, she used to live in the very building that’s being renovated on Park Ave., the Bristol Apartments.

“I moved in here the first time with $375 a month [in rent], and I liked it.”

But now she’s living with friends and family.

“I’m still accordingly looking for housing or a statement for help because I haven’t had it yet. My mother, my father, couldn’t help me out with it either. My grandmother, she just tried to put me on Section 8 and they wouldn’t let me.”

With the nonprofit inCOMMON renovating the Bristol and Georgia Row House complexes, she’d pay significantly less than market-rate housing in Omaha.

According to, the average cost of an Omaha one-bedroom is about $1,000 a month.

“The buildings or apartments will range from $450 all the way to $750. We have studios, one-bedroom apartments and two and three-bedroom apartments for families,” said Christian Gray, executive director of inCOMMON.

The Bristol will have 64 units and the Georgia Row House will have 11.

Section 8 Housing vouchers will be accepted. To make sure rooms are reserved for low-income individuals, tenants must be making less than 60% of the area’s median income. In other words, that’s less than $40,000 a year for one person.

The rental payment structure for upfront deposits is still yet to be determined.

“Its proximity to transportation, to job centers, to downtown. It doesn’t isolate people into deep parts of the community and exclude them from those opportunities,” said Gray.

Smith works multiple jobs, including warehouse work, childcare, and house cleaning. “You can catch more jobs than anything,” she said.

“This project really juxtaposes some of that high-income rental units with some of the lower-moderate rental units,” Gray said. “Everybody being upper income, I don’t think brings that diversity into the neighborhood. And again, having all people be low-income also doesn’t do that. So there’s a mix that people are really sharing life together and are able to support each other in that way.”

The $17 million project is made possible by philanthropic dollars and federal money. The federal government’s low-income housing tax credit program ensures that eligible projects sustain affordability for at least 15 years. After that period, the non-profit can renew its partnership.

The two buildings under construction are set to be completed by the summer of 2023.

Smith hopes that after periods of moving around, she can settle back into a place she once called home. In fact, Gray took down Smith’s number to make sure she’s alerted when apartment applications open in the spring of next year.

“I want to dedicate at least five to 10 years all at once [in one place],” said Smith.