***For Immediate Release***
Monday, April 29, 2019
Contact: Magdalena Cazarez
(402) 438-8853 Ext. 119
Lincoln City Council introduces ordinance addressing rental housing conditions
Proposal would address housing adequacy and conditions in rental units
LINCOLN – On Monday, April 29, 2019, the Lincoln City Council introduced Ordinance 19-52 to improve the adequacy and conditions of rental units in Lincoln. While this is a step forward and should be passed by the Lincoln City Council, neighborhood leaders and Collective Impact Lincoln urge members to further address our city’s housing crisis by implementing a periodic interior inspection program in the city and by addressing housing affordability.
“We commend the City Council for working to address housing adequacy in Lincoln. The ordinance introduced today will begin to help address these issues and we call on all council members to support it,” said James Goddard, Economic Justice director at Nebraska Appleseed. “At the same time, there is much left to be done to address housing adequacy and affordability in Lincoln, and we will continue to work toward those improvements.”
“For the past two years, Collective Impact Lincoln has been at neighbors’ doors, listening to their thoughts and concerns about their communities,” said Nancy Petitto, program manager at Collective Impact Lincoln. “It is absolutely clear from our deep conversations that adequate, affordable, and humane housing is a major and constant concern among residents. This ordinance is an encouraging first step.”
“This ordinance tightens the current inspection system, encourages better communication between landlords and tenants and focuses energy on the worst performing properties. We appreciate the many landlords who already work to provide well-maintained housing in our City! We look forward to continued efforts with nonprofits, businesses, city departments, landlords and residents to identify more solutions to address affordable housing needs,” said Shawn Ryba, executive director at South of Downtown Community Development Organization.
Affordable, adequate housing is essential for the strength of our community, and the strength and stability of our neighbors. According to the Housing Crisis report from Collective Impact Lincoln, 91 percent of extremely low-income families spend more than one-third of their income on rent. In addition, only 39,000 rental units are inspected annually with few requirements from the landlord, including little to no inspection of the interior space of units. City ordinances and incentives that encourage construction of economical units for low-income families can help address this crisis, which will only worsen without such action.
Collective Impact Lincoln encourages community members to address their concerns and show support at the May 6 public hearing at the Lincoln City Council’s office. Lincoln needs to be empowered with a proactive rental inspection system that would ensure the safety and security of our neighbors while addressing the financial burden put upon low-income families.
Collective Impact Lincoln lifts up neighborhoods in Nebraska’s capital city so that they can be the change they envision. Collective Impact Lincoln regularly hosts and coordinates action opportunities to promote policies and community initiatives in the drive for more affordable, adequate housing. This is a partnership between Civic Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed, and South of Downtown Community Development Organization.