3647 Lafayette Avenue, Ste 110; Omaha, NE 68131 otocfornebraska@gmail.com 402-344-4401

Democracy is not a
spectator sport


Temporary Protective Status Update

November 26th, 2019


65 people gathered on Friday evening to watch the film “The Last Dream.” It is a documentary about a group of youth in Baltimore whose parents are Temporary Protected Status recipients. With the TPS program under threat and caught in legal battles, the children, most of whom are US citizens, are also caught in the middle. If there parents were forced to leave the US, after being for over 20 years, raising families, doing good work, owning homes, etc, their children would be left with much less support. Many would move in with other family or older siblings would take custody. It is too dangerous for families to take their kids with them to El Salvador, as the young people are most at risk for being forcefully recruited to gangs.

The film highlights these kids stories, and their journey to perform a play about their experiences. They have been able to perform all over Maryland, and even performed in Congress! The documentary has now been released for broader viewing around the country. You can watch it online here ( http://guide.bnntv.org:8000/CablecastPublicSite/show/93888?channel=1 )
On Friday night, the Omaha community watched the film, met some of the families involved with its creation, and received a call to act- call Nebraska Senators so that a bill can go through the Senate for legal protection for TPS recipients with a path to citizenship. No more families should be separated.

Read More . . .

Medicaid Expansion Hearing

November 21st, 2019

On Nov. 13, the Omaha World Herald reported on the public hearing on the advisability of implementing expanded Medicaid with the Section 1115 Waiver experiment proposed by the Nebraska State Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

At that hearing, 24 out of 24 speakers opposed it.   You can oppose it, too. Comment here.


Besides failing to follow 3 of the 5 pertinent sections of the Initiative 427, speakers pointed out that this waiver is completely optional. In addition, other states have done similar research experiments and conclusions have been reached:

  • These plans are more expensive to administer for the state,
  • Place reporting regulations and treatment limitations on health care providers,
  • Interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, and
  • Do not replace the need for a comprehensive workforce development program.

Failure to implement swiftly will impoverish the the state by the loss of $460 million in federal monies in this year alone.

It’s not too late! We can still stop this waiver proposal from being adopted.

DHHS is required to take public comments on this waiver. Make your comment here, or keep reading for more options.

Comments will be accepted by DHHS through Nov. 26.

Click here for Talking Points to use in comments:
Linkto NE Appleseed’s talking points
Linkto OTOC’s talking points

Click herefor more background on the proposal from Nebraska Appleseed.

Click herefor information about the impact of the Dental and Vision care proposals.

How to Submit Comments

You can submit written comments directly to the Dept. of Health & Human Services via:

Email: DHHS.HHAWaiver@Nebraska.gov

Mail: Department of Health and Human Services Nebraska Medicaid
ATTN: HHA Waiver 301 Centennial Mall South
P.O. Box 95026 Lincoln, NE 68509-5026

There is a place online to submit comments. Make a comment online now, or visit us at our waiver comment station if you have any questions or would like assistance. Online comments are due Nov. 26

Click here to make a comment online

Waiver Comment Station:

Urban Abbey (1026 Jackson)
6-6:45 PM
Tuesday, Nov. 26

Mental health emergency services kick off Issue Cafe month at Urban Abbey

November 20th, 2019

Emergency Mental Health Services

A panel of speakers spoke about emergency mental health services currently available in the Omaha Metro area and new ones being planned.

Some resources shared:

Nebraska Medicine Director of Behavioral Health: Dr. David Cates

UNMC will be opening a Psychiatric Emergency Service next July. They are currently treating 3,000  psychiatric crisis patients a year, but a regular emergency room is not ideal for someone in psychiatric crisis where staff may not be trained for that and wait times for specific psychiatric care can take up to 24 hours. They are currently only discharging 47% of psych patients, but would like to be closer to discharge at least 2/3 of psych patients

Lasting Hope

Lasting Hope is CHI’s psych ER open 24/7 open to all ages. They also have 64 adult inpatient care beds, including 12 special care beds. There is always a trained mental health professional on duty in the ER.

Omaha Police Department Mental Health Coordinator: Lindsay Kroll LIMHP

Omaha Police Department just established a mental health unit. They are still collecting data about the mental health calls they receive and respond to. Currently, there are three therapists who acts as a co-responders who self dispatch on mental health calls to arrive with law enforcement. Therapists are trained to act differently than regular law enforcement, and can often diffuse a crisis without acting with force. The program is working well, but they only have 3 co-responders that only work regular business hours. Another program the police department has in an opt-in training for officers to become Crisis Intervention Trained (CIT) to better respond to metal health crises. This program is growing and offered to officers from across the state. They are also working to develop mental health first aid training for officers.

Director of Criminal Justice Behavioral Health initiatives at Region 6: Vicki Maca

Vicki works with the Stepping Up program for people who ended up in prison due to mental health emergencies. When the Mental Health system is not able to respond, many people end up in jail, and putting sick people in jail is not a good solution. The Stepping Up Initiative gives counties resources and support to reduce the mentally ill people in jail by bringing stakeholders together and collecting data about jail residents and their current care.  Then, the stakeholders develop a local plan to meet the following goals:

  1. Reduce the amount of people with mental illness in jails
  2. Reduce the stay of mentally ill people in jail
  3. Increase connections to community before release to provide a continuum of care and support
  4. reduce recidivism

Learn more about Region 6’s Stepping Up Initiative here

Housing Coalition

OTOC Housing team members, Restoring Dignity representatives, and Together Omaha advocates spoke to a crowd of 45 people on Thursday, November 14. Erin Feichtinger of Together gave an update about the new ordinance set to roll out in January 2020. We heard a story from a refugee community leader Paw Bwe Too about her family’s experience as a tenants in substandard housing and in other families she knows and works with. Hannah Wyble explained Restoring Dignity’s cleaning trainings they do with families at apartment complexes (learn more about the program here). We also heard from Dennis Walsh about the state of affordable housing in Omaha. See his presentation Here. Karen McElroy explained how we can continue acting for safer and more affordable housing in Omaha, specifically making it an election issue at the state legislature and Municipal elections in the next few year, as other comparable Midwest cities have done.

Meetings to Learn More!

Housing Coalition Meeting

Dec. 3 at 4 pm

Augustana Lutheran Church, 3647 Lafayette


Gentrification, Affordable Housing, and Race

Panel on Nov. 21 at 6:30 pm

Augustana Lutheran Church, 3647 Lafayette Ave.

Hosted by Policy Research Innovation

Learn more and RSVP at www.facebook.com/events/547479949406416/


Meet with an OTOC Housing leader

to learn more about how to get involved

email otocfornebraska@gmail.com


Get involved in the Community!

 Omaha Housing Authority Board Meeting

Dec. 5, 8:30 am (recurring every first Thursday)

OHA office, 1823 Harney


Property Maintenance Appeals Board Meeting

Dec. 5, 1:30 pm (recurring every first Thursday)

Civic Center, 3rd Floor Jesse Lowe Conference Room, 1819 Farnam


Omaha Municipal Land Bank Board meeting

Dec. 11, 9 am (recurring every second Wednesday)

Civic Center, 3rd Floor Jesse Lowe Conference Room, 1819 Farnam


Volunteer with Restoring Dignity

Visit https://rdomaha.com/how-you-can-help/ to learn more

Take Action!

Call the Mayor’s hotline and your council person and encourage them to

1) not settle with MOPOA

2) change the 2015 consent decree

Learn more here


Mayor’s Hotline
























Immigration and Climate Change

November 19, 2019

Join Nebraska Appleseed and Omaha Together One Community to hear from Dr. Richard Miller of Creighton University and Schuyler Geery-Zink of Nebraska Appleseed to explore the intersection of immigration and climate change.

Payday Lending Ballot Initiative

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Leaders from OTOC and Nebraska Appleseed will explain the campaign to cap fees on payday loans at 36% APR (down from 404%) through a Nov. 2020 ballot initiative and how you and your institution can support the campaign.

Thank You for a Wonderful Training Series!

October 23rd, 2019

Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up: Why People of Faith Matter

We would like to take a moment to thank everyone who put on and attended our Rebuilding Democracy series. With the support and handwork of many OTOC leaders and IPL educators, participants were able to learn about their important role as a citizen in relation to faith. Over the course of three months, we were able to reflect upon relationships within the community and how to positively effect change.


July 8, 2019

Reflecting on Democracy: Broad Based Community Organizing

Learned about broad-based organizations and how congregations from different denominations and other caring institutions work together for the common good. As well as, reflected on OTOC & IAF (membership, history, affiliations) acting toward a community that works for all.


August 12, 2019

Reflecting on Democracy: Importance of Relationships

Discussed the importance of public and private relationships and how this relates to congregation and the
broader society.


October 17-19, 2019

Rebuilding Democracy: Why People of Faith Matter

Learned effective organizing practices in order to create change in our local community, and met others who are committed to developing relationships across lines, such as race and religious denomination.

Provided congregations and organizations with the tools and steps the need to develop leaders to empower their own communities.


OTOC wins award for Outstanding Grassroots Organizing from Nebraska Appleseed

October 14th, 2019

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, OTOC leaders were awarded the Roots of Justice awards at the Nebraska Appleseed Good Apple Awards. The joyous night was filled with good food, inspiring award winners, and lots of smiles and laughter.

Thank you, Nebraska Appleseed to recognizing the long rooted work of OTOC in our community. Read more here

Thank you, OTOC for decades of work and change! You deserve this award!

Read More . . .

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