A project from The Omaha Reader analyzing historic inequities, and what we can do to change them.
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Where you live matters. Where you go to school matters. Your family, your neighborhood, your community all shape you. And in Omaha, they can mean the difference between a life of prosperity or poverty. (DIS)Invested is a project from The Omaha Reader exploring these inequities, and what we can do to fix them.
Through the lenses of housing, crime, education and family, our reporters seek to understand the problems impacting Omahans as systemic — not static — issues rooted in a history of disinvestment.
Our stories have shown how these investments (or lack thereof) promoted an explosion of suburban housing that perpetuates segregation, created programs to help Omaha’s neediest students that fail to reach the kids who need help most, and stockpiled funds intended for needy families while denying help at exorbitant rates.
But we’ve also shown solutions — local initiatives to create more first-time homebuyers, increased accountability for bad landlords, groups of moms providing affordable childcare and options for kids who’ve struck out in the traditional education system.
Our goal is to understand how history impacts our present and how tools we have now can impact our future. And it seems there’s no better time to ask these questions. There are plans to reshape the urban core, a $2.3 billion affordable housing problem needs addressing, and a tight labor market as well as an exodus of young talent leaves few options for growth.
So, whether you’re a reader, a community advocate or politician, we want you to be a part of this project, which will run until at least the end of 2022. And if you appreciate this kind of work, consider supporting us.
Because underlying all of this is a central optimism. We love this city. We want our neighbors to succeed. But we can’t do that unless we all face some ugly truths.
Once we do that, the solutions are out there. They exist already in our community, or maybe they’ve worked elsewhere and we have yet to try them. Our goal is to find them and make a case for their application in Omaha.
Read (DIS)Invested in Print
Family, Community & Health spotlights the experiences of low-income families throughout Omaha and Nebraska. We explore how the city and state serve, or neglect, the needs of families navigating the employment sector, public benefits, health care, child care, and other resources and systems. Previous coverage includes the battle for a living wage in Nebraska, resource guides for underserved families and Nebraska’s 90% denial rate to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, the public benefit program also known as Aid to Dependent Children.
Through data, research and classroom experiences, our reporting focuses on inequities and solutions to issues disproportionately impacting Black and brown students in Omaha’s public school system. Previous coverage expands on chronic absenteeism, suspensions and expulsions, white flight from the Omaha Public Schools district, and more.
Where we call home determines who we are, where we come from and what our future will look like. As we look deeper into Omaha’s own issues surrounding housing, we’re focusing on topics like code violations, segregation, homeownership, tax-increment financing and community-oriented solutions to development. Through each story we strive to understand our city’s attitude toward housing, and how that impacts its citizens.
The story behind an arrest or incarceration often goes untold. The question of what the root causes are of crime gets lost in the debate of public safety. We want to amplify those stories in Omaha, and find the solutions happening in other communities that could work here. Issues we’re exploring include mental health, traffic stops, restorative justice and more.