Omaha families face eviction as subsidies to St. James Manor stop

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) It’s a daunting situation for low-income renters; the federal government put an end to subsidies at St. James Manor, leaving dozens of Omaha families scrambling to come up with rent.

“I was like, how am I going to pay this rent, I can’t afford it,” said Jackie Stricklin, who’s lived at St. James Manor for six years. “I only get $300 a month.”

A decision by HUD to stop subsidizing the apartment complex means tenants will have to start paying about $900 for rent. The Omaha Housing Authority is trying to help them out.

“There are about 44 households that are living at St. James Manor right now,” said Joanie Poore, Executive Director of the Omaha Housing Authority. “So we’ve been able to meet with about 39 of the households.”

The goal is to get vouchers for those who qualify; so far 12 tenants have vouchers in hand.

“Our hope, obviously, is that those families can either remain where they are if they choose to or find housing as quickly as possible,” said Poore.

The owner has been in a battle with HUD since purchasing the property two years ago. Last month, HUD made a final decision not to transfer the subsidies contract.

“They terminated the leases and displaced the residents,” said John Foley, owner of the St. James Manor. “This not my decision, this is HUD’s decision.”

For the families living at St. James Manor, they just wish they’d been given more warning.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Patricia Jackson, who lives at the complex with her four children. “Something should have happened with these apartments, instead of waiting until the last minute.”

A statement from HUD said the property was sold to the current owner in 2018 without approval to transfer the subsidies contract. HUD also noting they “cannot comment further at this time because of ongoing litigation.”