OMAHA, Nebraska — Omaha is frequently touted as an economical area to live with city-like attractions.
However, many renters claim that this is no longer the case.
Kris Konou, a resident of Omaha, stated, “You come to the Midwest because you assume it is significantly less expensive than other parts of the country.”
Konou states that he has been attempting to move out and into his own apartment but cannot afford it at this time.
“Right now I’m looking for more two-bedroom flats, and I’ve been seeing prices in the thousands, which is a bit too expensive for me,” Konou said. “Because I cannot afford it on my own, I would prefer to room with someone else.”
Life-long Macey Glazebrook lives alone in Omaha, but she concurs that the city is becoming too pricey.
“Rent has increased. I just renewed my lease… rents have risen everywhere else, making it difficult to find and afford a new apartment “Glazebrook remarked.
According to experts, “affordable” housing costs 30% or less of one’s income or less, while many Omaha residents pay more.
“Many cost-burdened individuals spend more than 30 percent,” said Erin Feichtinger, director of policy for the Women’s Fund of Omaha. Even more severely cost-burdened individuals spend a large portion of their income on housing.
Feichtinger argues that the city lacks the time, energy, and resources to construct affordable housing.
“As a city, we have not devoted a sufficient amount of time, energy, and resources into providing more affordable housing for the people who already live here, and have instead spent a great deal of time constructing apartments for those in the upper middle class,” she said.
Existing buildings have increased their value, but new construction is on the rise. Many new and existing apartments charge over $1,000 for a studio or one-bedroom unit, according to our research.
“I’m not sure who this housing is for,” Feichtinger stated.
According to Feichtinger, housing expenses have a domino effect on a city’s quality of life and vitality. She believes it is a very ominous sign when young professionals with steady jobs and incomes complain that rent is extremely high.
The Department of City Planning is developing a Housing Affordability Action Plan. They are accepting public feedback via [email protected] until October 14.