Spencer Homes housing authority prepares for demolition

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 10:41 PM CST
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With demolition day just two years away we've learned work is already underway to relocate residents of one of Omaha’s largest public housing complexes.

Reality is setting in over at Spencer Homes. The 100-plus public housing units are set to be torn down in 2022, which means the people living here will be on the move.

“Just last Tuesday evening we had a meeting with the relocation experts and tenants of spencer homes to give them initial information and work to start to get them scheduled for their relocation assessments,” said Joanie Poore, CEO of Omaha Housing Authority.

400 new mixed-income housing units are being built in the area over the next four years. A portion is being set aside for spencer homes residents.

Denisha Mason spends a lot of time visiting her sister there.

"I’m glad they're tearing it down, it just needs to be over with, people are struggling over here,” said Mason.

First up, is a 60-unit senior building on track to be done early next year. By 2022 this vacant land and another nearby lot will see the construction of 90 units. And by 2024 the Spencer Homes site will be transformed into a mixture of townhomes and duplexes. Another two apartment buildings will go up nearby totaling about 175 units. For larger families, new single-unit homes will go up throughout the community.

“They will still pay 30 percent of their income towards their rental costs and still have ongoing subsidy and assistance,” said Poore.

The difference being the cost of utilities, tenants will get an allowance to pay those bills.

Last May Omaha was awarded a 25-million dollar grant from the federal government to tear down Spencer Homes and to help in relocating its tenants. The larger project to revitalize north Omaha is a joint effort between the city, the housing authority, and 75 North, the non-profit driving the plans.