Omaha Magazine - November/December 2023: The City IssueOct 22, 2023 02:13AM ● By Julius Fredrick
For the vast majority of those experiencing homelessness, their circumstances are rarely, if ever the result of a single issue or decision. Trauma, mental illness, accidents, and drug abuse are indeed common. Tenuous employment, stagnant wages, the rising costs of goods, and a white-hot housing market have exacerbated existing issues. The interplay between these factors, and many more besides, means the topography of “rock bottom” is highly stratified, and of course, deeply personal.
While Omaha may appear at times well insulated from the brunt of the social ailments faced by the nation at large, homelessness is not one of them—according to data compiled by the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) the metro has seen a 200% spike in unhoused people over the last 5 years.
And with expiration of pandemic relief benefits this year, the problem is expected to get worse before it gets better. Our main feature explores Omaha’s relationship with homelessness in detail—examining the varied and interlocking circumstances that underly, reinforce, and hopefully, curb the displacement of people from their homes.
Remember, despite whatever dark days may lie ahead, there’s always hope. Shaunna Brink, chronically unhoused for 5 years and counting, believes so anyway:
“Even if it seems like the world has turned its back on you there are people, there are people out there [who care], you know? A lot of peopleget so down that they're just waiting on that miracle, and sometimes it just doesn't come.
“So you just got to fight for it.”
As always, thank you for reading.
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Omaha Magazine - November/December 2023: The City Issue