Each year, Civic Nebraska’s Strengthening Democracy Awards recognize Nebraskans whose work embodies the spirit of a modern, robust democracy. Among our 2022 honorees are educators, administrators, students, and everyday Nebraskans. We’ll officially honor the winners on June 9, but before then, here’s a chance to learn a bit more about what makes them special.
Civic Nebraska honors Erin Feichtinger of Omaha with the 2022 Civic Catalyst Award for relentlessly fighting for housing justice in Nebraska.
Erin leads calls to action, helps Nebraskans tackle the state’s housing affordability issues, and has been a force in the lobby at the statehouse on behalf of emergency rental assistance for the state’s residents. In the most recent session of the Nebraska Legislature, Erin was instrumental in organizing, educating, and activating hundreds of Nebraskans to fight for aid, as well as other matters of fundamental housing fairness at the state and local levels.
“Housing advocates have often met resistance from elected officials with proposed legislation, but Erin has been at the forefront of finding a compromise to ensure that Nebraskans continue to have access to safe and affordable housing,” said Nancy Petitto, director of Civic Health Programs at Civic Nebraska, one of Erin’s three nominators. “She works with our state legislators to find creative solutions when there is resistance and push back from the opposition.”
As a moderator for the 92-member Housing Advocacy Collaborative, Erin consistently provides updates and calls to action to members to provide guidance on housing issues and how we can collectively make change in Nebraska, nominators said.
“Catalyst is the perfect word to describe Erin’s impact in the world of housing justice,” said Westin Miller, Civic Nebraska’s director of public policy, also a nominator. “She has had a huge impact on the Nebraska Legislature both as an individual and an organizer, takes every opportunity to educate those around her, and is a role model for policy advocacy.”
For example, Erin helped lobby and organize the Housing Justice Package of 2021, which passed easily in the Nebraska Legislature. In 2022, she raised the profile of the urgency surrounding a 2022 round of federal emergency rental assistance, prompting the Legislature to pass an amendment requiring the state to apply for the funds.
In addition, Erin has worked in Omaha to ensure the timely and efficient distribution of the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance. She also has ensured that Douglas County provided funding to the Tenant Assistance Project, which provided much-needed support to volunteer attorneys who offer free legal services for tenants facing eviction.
“Erin is simply a relentless fighter for housing justice,” nominator Kasey Ogle of Collective Impact Lincoln said.
Join us as we celebrate Erin and her fellow Strengthening Democracy honorees on Thursday, June 9, at DelRay 817 in Lincoln. Save your spot today!