Lincoln City Council adopts #HumaneHousing ordinance

For Collective Impact Lincoln – a Civic Nebraska-led partnership lifting up core neighborhoods – the adoption was the culmination of nearly two years of canvassing, connecting, brainstorming, and organizing.

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The Lincoln City Council voted 6-1 May 20 to adopt a Humane Housing Ordinance to protect renters from retaliation and to preserve the supply of affordable rental housing in the city.

For Collective Impact Lincoln – a Civic Nebraska-led partnership dedicated to lifting up the Star City’s core neighborhoods – the ordinance’s passage was the culmination of nearly two years of deep canvassing, connecting with neighbors, envisioning solutions, making policy recommendations, and organizing residents.

“This is a positive step to protect renters and preserve the quality of affordable, humane rental housing in our city,” said Nancy Petitto, Collective Impact Lincoln program manager. “Much work remains to fully address Lincoln’s housing adequacy and affordability concerns, and we will continue our comprehensive efforts to achieve those improvements.”

Dozens of Lincolnites testified May 6 in favor of the Humane Housing Ordinance.

Ordinance 19-52, introduced April 29, creates triggers for more thorough inspections of a problem property if a certain number of violations are found in any of its units within a one-year period. It also creates a rental registry for those properties with violations.

Collective Impact Lincoln has conducted deep canvassing resulting in conversations with more than 9,000 Lincolnites since 2017. Humane and affordable housing has been a constant concern.

The ordinance was introduced because many renters fear retribution from landlords if they report violations. The new ordinance protects every renter at a problem property from retaliation because the city — not the renters — automatically initiates ensuing inspections of all units at the property. The targeted approach will not lead to more inspections for properties in compliance.

Collective Impact Lincoln lifts up the city’s neighborhoods to be the positive change they envision through organizing, education, and capacity-building. Founded in 2017 via a Breakthrough Initiative Grant from Woods Charitable Fund, Collective Impact Lincoln is a partnership among Civic Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed, and the South of Downtown Community Development Organization.

To join Collective Impact Lincoln’s continuing efforts to empower Lincoln’s core neighborhoods, click here.

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