Habitat for Humanity restoring luster to tarnished neighborhoods

Published: Jun. 29, 2019 at 5:20 PM CDT
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For the past few years, Habitat for Humanity has made an effort to change one North Omaha neighborhood, working to improve housing. They've filled empty lots with new homes and replaced run-down homes with new construction.

Last year in the Kountze Park neighborhood around 23rd and Laird homes didn’t show much promise. Some were run-down, empty and eyesores.

We talked to Mellissa Ramurs last year. She was waiting for her neighborhood to improve like others in the area.

“I see all these new ones out here on the other street,” she said. “It makes the neighborhood look better."

A year later Melissa says things are looking better in her neighborhood. The old run-down homes have been replaced with Habitat for Humanity work crews busy building new homes.

“Be a whole lot better because the houses that was up was dangerous for the people around here because someone could go by and something could have fell on them or something."

The Kountze Park neighborhood is close to King Science Center. Habitat for Humanity officials believed there was potential to give this neighborhood a new start.

Habitat’s Meggan Thomas said, “We hope that as a family purchases an affordable home that then they're able to direct more funds to other areas in their life like transportation or going back to school. There’s such a ripple effect that we see when we can stand with folks who wouldn't qualify for a traditional mortgage."

Since 2013 Habitat for Humanity has built more than 60 homes in the Kountze Park area. Work crews are working to build about half a dozen homes there. One of them is right next door to Melissa.

“It’s going to be interesting have someone right next door. I mean the neighbors are okay. They're all nice around here."

Habitat for Humanity will build the foundation for the new homes in Kountze Park and then in September volunteers will move in and complete all of the homes at once. This will be they're 12th annual Builders Blitz.