- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Two Omaha agencies have collaborated to create a $31 million campus to house older adults, troubled kids and mothers seeking treatment for substance abuse.

An open house Thursday evening will mark the completion of the North Omaha Human Services Intergenerational Campus, which was established by Heartland Family Service and Holy Name Housing Corporation, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1Ol3h9x ).

Holy Name is one of north Omaha’s largest developers of affordable housing. Heartland Family Service is one of the metro area’s largest social service agencies.

The campus features dormitories for troubled kids, cottages for older adults and nearby housing that allows mothers to live with their children while getting treatment for addiction. Residents receive supplemental services, such a meals and medical care.

Sister Marilyn Ross, the retired executive director of Holy Name Housing who helped organize the project, said the effort was initiated by the need to help low-income families in north Omaha.

“This fits within a growing realization that, to redevelop the north Omaha community, we do need good housing, but we also need supportive services, especially if you’re talking about low-income families,” Ross said. “How can we keep an elderly person or a healthy family from falling into poverty? We need to stabilize the low-income families who call north Omaha home.”

Ross said that in order to help families, organizations must recognize the growing gap between what the working poor can earn and the cost of necessities. John Jeanetta, Heartland’s president and chief executive officer, echoed that statement.

“Providing housing alone doesn’t really work with low-income families,” said. “You need housing and services.”

Jeanetta said this new project does precisely that. The campus consists of two sites. One is a cluster of 44 cottages for older adults and a building that includes a senior center and dormitories for youth ages 10 to 18. Medical care is available across the street along with former apartments that have been renovated into transitional housing for mothers fighting substance abuse.

“This really required a lot of partnerships,” Ross said. “I’m of the feeling that we don’t do the best things we do alone. We do them in partnership with others.”


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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