Health & Housing

Increase the percentage of healthy homes in the metro area.


The Challenge:

Safe and affordable housing is an essential component of healthy communities, and the effects of housing problems are widespread. Residents who do not have a kitchen in their home are more likely to depend on unhealthy convenience foods, and a lack of plumbing facilities increases the risk of infectious disease. Research has found that young children who live in crowded housing conditions are at increased risk of food insecurity, which may impact their academic performance. In areas where housing costs are high, low-income residents may be forced into substandard living conditions with an increased exposure to mold and mildew growth, pest infestation, and lead or other environmental hazards. Unmet housing needs may include homelessness, near homelessness, poor housing quality, or inability to pay a mortgage or rent.

Again this year, over half of the public (53%) report that they have made sacrifices over the past three years to be able to cover their rent or mortgage. These sacrifices have included taking on an additional job/more hours at work (24%), ceasing to save for retirement (19%), accumulating credit card debt (17%), or cutting back on healthy food (13%) or healthcare (11%). (MacAuthor Foundation, 2015) 


Local Facts:

  • In Douglas County, 47.9% of renters spend 30% or more of household income on rent. (ACS, 2015)
  • In Douglas County, 16.1% of homes are reported to have “severe housing problems” ie: This indicator measures the percentage of households with at least one of the following four housing problems: overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen, or lack of plumbing facilities, etc. (County Health Rankings, 2014)

Live Well Omaha has created a series of maps to bring local data together to begin to tell the story of disparities in our community. Click on the above map to explore the intersection of people living with lung disease with home age and basic needs that are unmet in the home.


% Experienced Unhealthy Housing Conditions in Past Year (CHNA 2018)

Examples of Health & Housing in Action:

Douglas County Health Department concluded a year-long affordable housing learning lab process with more than 50 key leaders, and is championing a housing leadership role with City Councilman Ben Gray to serve as a liaison with landlords and tenants.

In 2018, HUD, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, Live Well Omaha, and MOTAC designed and implemented a health track of a national HUD conference hosted in Omaha, NE.

Since the inception of the Wyatt Tool, OHKA has worked to make 300 homes safer and healthier by providing education, supplies, and construction rehabilitation.

The Omaha community rallied together to help 500 residents transition from unhealthy apartments to healthy homes. Many partners have been critical in this work and a few examples include: Omaha Parks and Recreation’s Adams and Columbus Community Centers partnered to temporarily house 500 residents and Omaha Public Schools Foundation raised more than $55,000 to meet the needs of 200 students during the transition.

The list of milestones and partners is ever growing.

If you know of work happening in these Critical Health Issue areas or have additional Champions to list, please email them to