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In the mid-1980’s HUD recognized the need for subsidized housing in Sarpy County through the establishment of a local Housing Agency and looked to the Nebraska Governor to organize the effort. Because the City of Bellevue was the largest community in the County, the Governor identified the Bellevue Mayor as the appointing official for the new agency. Though the new agency was named the Bellevue Housing Agency (BHA), Nebraska statutes dictated that this new entity would handle all HUD related housing in Sarpy County. Today BHA administers Public Housing and Section 8 vouchers for about 350 families throughout Sarpy County.
As time went on, however, it became obvious that residents had fundamental needs that were outside the realm of what HUD could fund. Examples include tuition assistance, emergency child care assistance, unanticipated job-related expenses and many other similar expenses and requirements. To address this shortfall, the Housing Foundation for Sarpy County was formed in 2007. The original focus of the Foundation was solely on the types of support needs of residents listed above, but after time, evolved into a program that helped families gain economic self-sufficiency. While the Foundation continues to aid families in times of financial hardship, the Foundation’s primary goal is to provide mentoring, peer group support, counseling and monthly educational programs that lead to better jobs with increased income, household budgeting, and family financial stability.
In 2018, BHA’s Executive Director along with several Commissioners and Foundation Board members explored the possibility of acquiring the titles of the BHA’s Public Housing properties through a HUD-sponsored disposition program. A successful application, leading to title transfer of the properties would lead to expansion of the overall number of affordable and workforce housing units in Sarpy County. After careful deliberation, the BHA Commission and Foundation Board decided to submit a disposition application leading to owning approximately 50 units of property and are awaiting HUD’s decision. When approved, BHA will transfer the properties to the Foundation, and the Foundation’s role will expand. The new role will include property management and housing construction to further address the growing workforce housing requirements in Sarpy County. This is an exciting time for both the Housing Agency and Foundation. Both organizations will reorganize to accommodate the various changes necessary to absorb properties and run a property management business.