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HUD Great Plains partners with Siena Francis House in Omaha to open The Cottages; combating chronic homelessness
[(L-R) Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (center left, blue dress) and HUD Great Plains Regional Administrator Ulysses Clayborn (center right, blue suit) cut the ribbon with other Omaha dignitaries at the Cottages project in Omaha, Nebraska on October 23, 2023. (Photo credit: HUD Press Office Great Plains)]
(L-R) Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (center left, blue dress) and HUD Great Plains Regional Administrator Ulysses Clayborn (center right, blue suit) cut the ribbon with other Omaha dignitaries at the Cottages project in Omaha, Nebraska on October 23, 2023.
(Photo credit: HUD Press Office Great Plains).

On October 23, 2023 - Omaha-based non-profit, Siena Francis House, unveiled an innovative solution for tackling chronic homelessness—a community of smaller but functional single-room homes named The Cottages. HUD Great Plains Regional Administrator Ulysses “Deke” Clayborn, Deputy Regional Administrator Bruce Ladd, Omaha Field Office Director Kitty A. Amaya and Omaha field office staff were in attendance. They were joined by Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, along with representatives from the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA), members of the city council, Douglas County and other vital partners in celebration of the transformative project positively impacting the city and county’s unsheltered population.

In his remarks at the ribbon cutting, Clayborn reiterated HUD’s mission to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality affordable homes for all.” According to preliminary reporting on the state of homelessness in Omaha, the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless found that on a single night last January 2023, that about 1,475 persons were experiencing some type of homelessness – with about 205 of them being unsheltered. These 50 new units are a way to hedge against that troubling trend, providing both access to shelter and also supportive services.

HUD plays a significant role in the ongoing success of the Cottages project, providing the necessary grant support for rental subsidies through $300,000 of HUD Community Planning and Grant funding to complement $9 million in pandemic funds received from NIFA. This collaborative effort is a testament to a shared commitment to creating a lasting solution to chronic homelessness.

The essence of this initiative goes beyond providing shelter; it is about restoring hope to individuals who have faced chronic homelessness. At a time when incarceration or public policy may scatter unhoused persons from one vulnerable place to another, perpetuating a destructive and unending cycle, these permanent supportive housing units will be a lifeline for those individuals. The Siena Francis House's dedication, in collaboration with HUD, the city of Omaha, Douglas County, NIFA, and other stakeholders, reaffirms the commitment to address this pressing issue. It represents a significant step in transforming the lives of those who need it most, offering them a chance to regain stability and independence.

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