Omaha-based organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities continues to help people with no public support for housing
OMAHA, Nebraska – An nonprofit based in Omaha that assists persons who have developmental disabilities has some significant goals in mind for the near future.
Grace is one of the fortunate individuals who may name Sheltering Tree their home. She is one of countless people that live there.
Across the United States, over 83% of adults who are disabled do not qualify for any form of public housing assistance.
“That was information that was provided by the program at the University of Minnesota, and it is much higher than the average population,” says Denise Gehringer, executive director of Sheltering Tree. “It is significantly higher than the general population.” “And so what we find for people who have developmental disabilities is that they just don’t have possibilities to get housing. We want to make sure that there are facilities like Sheltering Tree available for those persons so that they can have safe homes when their parents get older and are no longer able to take care of them.
At this time, Sheltering Tree operates out of two facilities, one each in the Belleview and Benson communities. They are in the process of constructing a new location in the vicinity of Papillion and Shadow Lake, and the opening is scheduled for the summer of 2023.
In addition, the non-profit organization was granted permission by the Omaha City Council to develop an additional 44 housing units in the Elkhorn neighborhood.
“We had a neighborhood meeting to share with the neighbors what it is that we do, who would be living in our Sheltering Tree community and I think they were very supportive, they were welcoming, and they look forward to having us as neighbors,” says Gehringer. “We had a neighborhood meeting to share with the neighbors what it is that we do, who would be living in our Sheltering Tree community and I think they were very supportive, they were welcoming
However, concerns about things like parking and increased traffic in the region continue to be a factor.
However, neighbors believe that providing reasonably priced housing for persons who have developmental impairments is a wonderful opportunity for people who, like Grace, have a pressing requirement for such accommodations.
According to Gehringer, the Sheltering Tree apartments have resident tenant helpers who are present at all times. Because adults who have developmental impairments have varied degrees of assistance requirements, this is one way in which they can assist their residents in “designing what they want their life to look like.”
This coming Friday is the Sheltering Tree gala, and the final day to purchase tickets is this coming Tuesday, September 6th. One of their most important fund-raising events also serves as an opportunity to express gratitude to the local community for the assistance it has provided.