Omaha, Nebraska – Renters in Nebraska are currently facing a challenging situation as rent prices continue to climb, leading to a notable increase in evictions throughout the state. The numbers reveal a concerning trend: within just the first half of the current year, eviction cases have surged by almost 1,400 compared to the same period in 2022.
However, there is a silver lining amidst this predicament. Scott Mertz, who heads the housing unit at Legal Aid of Nebraska, assures tenants that those struggling financially and on the brink of eviction can potentially benefit from their services. Mertz highlighted that seeking their help frequently results in favorable outcomes, often allowing tenants to remain in their homes.
Shannon Harner, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Investment Financing Authority, shared some potentially good news for renters outside the major regions of Omaha and Lincoln. A significant sum of $48 million, sourced from the COVID-related Emergency Rental Assistance Funds, has been allocated to provide relief to households finding it tough to meet their rental and utility expenses. Harner elaborated, “In that application, they can apply for past-due rent, and up to three months of future rent.” She also mentioned that select priority households could be eligible for further assistance. Detailed criteria and application procedures can be found at Nebraskarenthelp.org. Furthermore, the NIFA call center can be reached at 844-429-6575 for more information.
Mertz emphasized the importance of renters being fully aware of their rights, particularly regarding eviction notices. He explained, “If you’re in public housing or receive subsidies like Section 8, you are entitled to a 30-day notice. Similarly, for properties benefitting from federal financing programs, individuals should be given a 30-day notice.” However, with the current Nebraska law mandating a mere seven days’ notice from landlords, Mertz passionately recommends those facing the threat of eviction to get in touch with Legal Aid of Nebraska at 1-877-250-2016 to comprehend their rights and determine if they’re eligible for representation.