Omaha organizations receive $11 million in affordable housing funds

What they say they plan to do with the money
Omaha organizations are receiving millions of dollars to help with affordable housing in the city.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Across Omaha, low-interest loans and grants will catalyze 221 more affordable and mixed-income housing units dedicated to managing the rising cost of rent in the metro. Front Porch Investments announced Thursday the recipients and that long-term loans are funded through ARPA money, while short-term loans and grants are through philanthropic dollars.

Holy Name Housing Corporation received the largest low-interest loan, $3 million, to build 24 single-family homes in the Adams Park Neighborhood of North Omaha.

It’ll target people making 40-60% of the area median income, or about $40,000-$60,000 a year for a family of four. The rent for homes they intend to build would be about $600-$800 so that housing would eat into no more than 30% of a family’s check.

“This will allow us to push the other dollars that we received that much further to keep the homes at an affordable price,” said Matthew Cavanaugh, executive director of Holy Name Housing Corporation.

Dr. Jendayi Frazer is another North Omaha developer who also received a low-interest loan to build four townhomes at 28th and Pratt Streets.

“This neighborhood that I’m going to build these townhouses on. I grew up on that street. I was a kid laying down, playing stickball looking at the stars at night,” she said. “And it was a community with a lot of vitality. And over the years that has changed. And I want to help revitalize the community.”

She said two of her units will be for families with kids and two for elderly or disabled individuals.

Additionally, $1.4 million of the $11 million in awards went toward grants.

World Speaks Omaha is receiving about $122,000 for language support in housing matters.

The money will fund 20 interpreters across 18 languages with a goal of helping more than 100 people in a year for free.

“It’s really amazing to be able to take something that you wrote down on a piece of paper and begin to see working in the community,” said Leah Whitney Chavez, founder of World Speaks Omaha.

She said interpreters play a key role in language accessibility.

“They are really the focal piece in how this run. So, the ability to be able to meet folks where they are and understand where they come from culturally and important.”

It’s something interpreter Arturo Aceves can do after coming to America from Mexico and facing language barriers of his own.

“It was a challenge. I knew very basic of the language. I lived that,” he said. “And not only the lack of knowledge. But also the fear. I’ve been incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to provide that for my community in order for them to not feel how I felt when I first came to this country.”