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Archive for March, 2019

OTOC Testifies Before City Council in Favor of Proactive Inspections

March 13th, 2019

On Tuesday, OTOC leaders joined tenants, nonprofits and landlords to testify in support of proactive inspections in Omaha. In front of a packed house at City Hall, OTOC leaders Karen McElroy, Rosie Volkmer, Gloria Austerberry, Dennis Walsh, Susan Kuhlman and Paul Romero laid out a comprehensive narrative that covered the background information of the problem of substandard property in the city, the failure of the current complaint-based system and the extensive research in support of rental inspection programs.

OTOC’s testimony was supplemented by the lived experiences of tenants and case workers from local nonprofits, that displayed to members of the City Council the horrendous conditions that tenants have been forced to live under. This powerful combination of experience and data shed light on the problem as well as the effectiveness of a proactive solution. OTOC organized this coalition with community partners like Together, Habitat for Humanity, Family Housing Advisory Services, Restoring Dignity, Neighborhood Alliances and associations, landlords, tenants, and community advocates.

 

After nearly four hours of testimony on Tuesday, the City Council is likely to delay the vote on the proposed ordinances that was set for next week, to give the council more time to alter the ordinances as necessary. Thank you to everyone who testified and the many who came to the meeting to show your support for OTOC and Omaha’s renting families.

OTOC leaders urge supporters to continue to pressure their City Council members to support a system of landlord registration with proactive inspections so that we can ensure that all people have access to healthy homes in our city.

News coverage can be found on the Omaha World Herald, KMTV, KPTM, KETV and WOWT.

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OTOC Leaders Testify against Payday Lending expansion at State Legislature

March 13th, 2019

Rod Kuhlmann (left) of Holy Name Church and Kevin Graham of First United Methodist Church presented testimony on behalf of the OTOC Payday Lending Action Team to the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature on Mar. 12, 2019, at the State Capitol.

Kuhlmann testified against LB 379, which would expand payday lending in Nebraska by permitting lenders to make loans online as well as in person. Graham testified against LB 265, which would create a new class of delayed deposit loan services for loans with larger principal amounts and with longer terms.

Kuhlmann and Graham both presented OTOC’s position that payday lending requires reform, not expansion, in Nebraska. Neither LB 379 nor LB 265 address the core problems of payday lending:

  1. The State Department of Banking reports that payday lending borrowers in Nebraska paid an average Annual Percentage Rate of 404% on their loans in 2017; and
  2. The State Department of Banking reports that borrowers renewed their payday loans an average of 11 times in 2017, paying a fee of $53 each time, because they could not repay the entire loan amount in 2 weeks.

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