Several Omaha organizations team up to ensure ARPA funds get to where they’re needed

Organizers call the teamwork “historical.”
A dozen South Omaha organizations are teaming up to ensure American Rescue Plan Act funding intended for the community actually gets there.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 4:20 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A dozen South Omaha organizations are hoping that by teaming up, the funds recommended for South Omaha actually make it there.

The group is diverse, representing everything from the arts to economic development in the community, all working together to make sure South Omaha is not left out of federal funds that are available.

Organizers call this teamwork historical.

“It’s a historical opportunity to capitalize a lot of the projects that have been [on] the mind of many organizations that have served this community for decades,” said Cesar Garcia, Canopy South’s executive director. “Unfortunately the pandemic affected this community worse.”

A dozen South Omaha organizations are working together to ensure nearly $100 million in ARPA funding intended for South Omaha actually gets there.

“It’s historical because we’re bringing together many organizations from different sectors, for-profit and non-profit, that the plan is well-coordinated, well-supported, that the expertise that each organization brings to the table is well utilized, and the trust of the community that we have been working so hard for many decades to gain that we are able to pay back,” Garcia said.

OneWorld Community Health Center is a very busy place. Last year, OneWorld served more than 50,000 people providing healthcare to an underserved community.

Now they have plans to expand, building a 24,000-square-foot facility to provide prevention-focused healthcare, including mental health care -- a need that spiked during the height of the pandemic.

“People who have immigrated to the United States and don’t have family nearby, out support creates the chance for lots of depression and behavioral health issues and we saw death during COVID, and families are still reeling and trying to recover from that, and they need our help,” said Andrea Skolkin, CEO of OneWorld.

OneWorld is just one example of the need for change in South Omaha. Organizers say this community is a major part of the city and the state.

“South Omaha is the gateway for bringing immigrants to this community,” Skolkin said. “That’s been very important to the success of the state.”

Organizers are encouraging people and organizations to get in touch with their state legislators to let them know how important the funding is to the South Omaha community.