OHA receives federal money to improve housing

The Southside Terrace Apartments located near 30th and T Streets will be redeveloped as promised.
After years of talk and promises, change is finally on the way to a troubled Omaha Housing Authority apartment development.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:36 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After years of talk and promises, change is finally on the way to a troubled Omaha Housing Authority apartment development.

The Southside Terrace Apartments located near 30th and T Streets will be redeveloped as promised and federal officials brought a big check to help pay for the transformation.

“This is big news you know $50 million, not $5 million not $10 million not even $20 or $25 million, $50 million it is one of the four grants that HUD is providing communities across the country,” said Adrianne Todman.

HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman brought hope and a big check to Omaha to start the transformation of South Omaha’s Southside Terrace Apartment complex.

Southside Terrace Apartments is the last of OHA’s large housing developments. The complex is huge with 358 units covering almost 10 city blocks.

There is a history here, a lot of it highlighted by crime and violence. Some of the families have lived here for generations they say it’s time for things to change.

“My moms been living here for about 15 plus years and also she’s very concerned about the neighborhood, she feels like it’s not a place she wants my kids to grow up in because she saw us grow up in this neighborhood and it’s not safe at all its not secured,” said Hawa Hassan.

There are plans to make changes in the Southside Terrace homes. Knocking down the government barracks-style buildings and replacing them with a mix of multi-family apartment units and townhomes.

“The plan does call for anywhere between 800 to 1,100 new units and that will evolve over time over the next six years of the grant and our intention is to work with the partners and have a mixed-income approach,” said Joanie Poore, CEO of Omaha Housing Authority.

The old brick buildings will be demolished and replaced in phases. Current residents can choose to be permanently relocated or return to the area once the redevelopment is complete.

OHA officials say they will make sure the changes also help to improve the surrounding Indian Hills neighborhood. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert says this is an opportunity to create lasting change.

“Our transformation plan is a commitment to affordable housing education and accessible services what could be more important than quality, safe housing services to help people succeed and a supportive neighborhood environment for families,” said Stothert.

Federal officials wrote a big check to help pay for the transformation.

Local and federal officials gather at the Southside Terrace Apartments to celebrate, federal officials finally making good on a promise made to residents here years ago.

“I realized I’m about to go to a community that probably given my experience in public housing that probably has been promised over and over and over again that change will come,” Todman.

“It says a lot about Omaha and our outstanding partners that we are a two-time recipient of choice neighborhoods implementation grants and I think that’s something to celebrate,” said Stothert.

Omaha has experience in this type of work. The Seventy-Five North highlander development is a mixed-income community in North Omaha that takes the place of a once sprawling crime-plagued OHA housing development.

People who live in Southside Terrace also hope their future here will look better than their past.

“What I want them to try to make happen in the future is the safety. There’s too many shootings out here, too much violence, the kids are seeing things they should not be seeing at a young age because I witnessed things at a young age I shouldn’t have witnessed,” said Hassan.

Officials say the $50 million grant is, in addition, to close to $200 million that comes from local investments and contributions.

OHA officials believe it will cost more than $350 million to complete the project, the grant calls for the project to be done in six years.