The devastating flooding of the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers along western Douglas County forced more than 1,200 homeowners out of their homes. To address the housing need, two local organizations combined their expertise to help displaced homeowners make the necessary repairs to get back in to their homes: The Douglas County Long Term Recovery Group (Douglas County LTRG) and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha.
Douglas County LTRG was established by Pastor Carl Ratcliff (LTRG Board Chair) who has more than 13 years of construction and construction management experience. Habitat for Humanity of Omaha has significant history and a solid track record of building and repairing quality, affordable housing and helping to revive communities.
Through their partnership, Douglas County LTRG works to understand and prioritize the need in impacted neighborhoods and then leverages Habitat Omaha’s successful repair and building programs in order to maximize impact and restore homes to their pre-flood conditions. Together, their efforts are focusing on various locations along the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers, but primarily the King Lake area where the majority of need remains.
There are 108 homes in King Lake, 99 of those homes were affected by the 2019 flooding. Currently, 20 of those families have completed their cleanup and rebuilds and are back in their homes. Today, 15 homes are being worked on and will soon be ready to be occupied. There are 60 families still waiting for assistance cleaning and rebuilding their homes in King Lake, those families are living in campers, with family or paying rent somewhere else until their homes are rebuilt. There are approximately 12 other homes outside King Lake along the Elkhorn River that are waiting for assistance to rebuild their homes.
“The average cost of repairs for homeowners is between $1,500 and $5,000,” said Danyelle Baratta, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha’s Home Repair Manager.
To help cover the cost of necessary repairs to flood-impacted homeowners, the Rebuild the Heartland Community Fund recently awarded a total of $125,000 to the Douglas County LTRG and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha.
“We are so grateful for the support of the Rebuild the Heartland Community Fund,” said Pastor Ratcliff. “Together we are able to help ease the financial burden on impacted homeowners so that they can finally repair their homes and return to their normal lives,” said Danyelle Baratta.