Gayblack Canadian Man

Foreign Policy Analysis

Final Presentation | Omaha Land Bank | 2018 RFI Student Serviceship


Hello everybody! I can’t really see you so this is kinda
awkward but I’m gonna try and do this. So this summer Kyle and I were placed
 at the Omaha Municipal Land Bank in Omaha. So we can go to the next slide. So to give you a little background
 of why the Land Bank exists, currently there are 7,000 parcels
that have some level of code violation. 3,000 of those have a demolition violation. 4,000 have unfit/unsafe designation to their
name. And over half of all those violations in
Omaha are east of 42nd Street in North, South,
and Midtown Omaha. The Land Bank came about because all these
properties were sitting vacant and empty
 and nobody could really do anything with them,
 nor did people have time to do anything with them. So the Land Bank came through. They started their organization
 and currently are working towards getting all of those parcels safe and fit for the
neighborhoods. So next slide. Kyle actually worked pretty close with this
this summer. I was more in like the social media helping
Laura Hyleman in the Communications Department. But I’m just gonna go through the LB 854
 and what the correlation between the Rural Futures Institute
 and the Omaha Land Bank is. So what is LB 854? This is a legislation that was passed
 by the Nebraska legislature and vetoed by the governor. This would have enabled the Land Banks to
be set up outside of Omaha. Currently the Land Bank workers are still
talking to legislature and people about working
up to the next bill. So why and how the government can not on
its own find the solution without the collaboration
with nonprofits and other groups. This is debatably the future
 of inter-governmental relationships and public administration. And where would this benefit? This would be outside of Omaha and across
the state. The exact same issues are present. A lot of small towns have these housing
problems, just as Omaha does. The communities have a lack of housing
 and currently there are few ways to address this issue. Our staffing is very small in smaller communities
 and when the next legislative session there will more emphasis on expanding access
 to this resource with smaller communities. And just Omaha is like the foundation
 of what smaller communities can build off of
 and can expand to. So that’s kinda what the LB 854 is. Kyle was supposed to talk about this slide
 so he would have more input on that. So sorry about that! Next slide. So what happened this summer? The question should be what didn’t happen
this summer. We did so much at the Land Bank. We got to attend many community organization
sessions. A few we got to attend was OneOmaha,
 30th and Ames Redevelopment we went to multiple Land Bank Board meetings. We have got to attend auctions with the
Land Bank and many more that we probably forgot about
because we were so busy every day investing in those things. We got to assist in creating legal documents
 on the foreclosure team. Kyle did that most of his summer. He got really accustomed to that stuff
 in working with the foreclosure team. So that was exciting for him. We got to assist in reviewing the presentations,
 attended monthly auctions that we had, so that was a fun process to see. We got house in, we’d sell them,
 and then the houses get transformed. And we actually within the first week
 of being at the Land Bank we got to go see a transformed house
 and that was really cool to see how that ended up. I did a lot of social media posts. So I drafted them for Laura. I made suggestions for the business website. I also helped Marty on the property sites. And we also got to meet and talk
 to a lot of community members which was a really fun experience. Just seeing their vision of things
and their recommendations on how to improve Omaha
 and the housing crisis they are having. Next slide please. So the impact of this summer. The Land Bank impacts a lot of people,
 a few of ’em that we named was neighborhoods with blight. The individuals who can’t afford homes before
this, the Land Banks forecloses those
and sells them at a reasonable price for a lot of people that can’t afford a
regular house, can afford this house, these types of houses. It impacts the safety of neighborhoods. There’s lots of safety issues
 that come with abandoned houses. The historic preservation,
 a lot of communities want that historic preservation
 to be kept so the Land Bank gets those houses and a lot of the time they are preserved. The relationships that are our coworkers
 made with the customers, every day we had customers call
 or come in and talk to our coworkers. And the relationship they had was really
strong and it actually went into a friendship,
 which was really cool to see. The Land Bank impacted other nonprofits
in Omaha as well. They all kind of went off of each other,
 they benefited from each other, they got ideas from each other. So the benefits from that was really valuable. And we also got to impact the college,
 Southeast Community College. We, towards the end of our internship,
they were building a house in their new facility and they actually bought the land from the
Land Bank. So we got to go see that whole process,
 so that was really fun to see there. So next slide. So these are just pictures of Kyle and I
 and what all we did this summer. These are only a few. I kinda wanted to take this slide
 just to thank all of the Land Bank members for giving us all the memories we got this
summer. The top picture is right outside our office. Middle picture, the top middle picture,
 we got to go to so many conferences where we learned so much
 about community development and all the nonprofits
 and how they’re working to better Omaha. It was really fun. The top right, we went out to lunch with
our coworkers a lot and it was a great time to get to know each
other on personal and work levels. The bottom left picture at the College World
Series, it was literally like two blocks away from
our business. So we went and saw the train. It was a busy time down there for about
two weeks. So that was fun to experience with them. The middle bottom picture, our board member,
 or our board meetings were held right by Mayor Stothert’s office
 so we took the chance to go in there and get a picture with her picture. And in the bottom right Kyle was just putting
up a sign in a yard. So I just wanted to take this time to thank
the Land Bank for everything they gave us this summer,
 the experiences and the memories and everything. So next slide. So takeaways from serviceship. The big takeaways we thought we learned,
 and these are not all of them, they’re just a few of them,
 is attending community meetings is important. Getting community input
 is vital to the success of a community, because if you don’t really know what the
community wants and you’re just putting in what you think
is best for that community, it’s not gonna be successful. And that was expressed to us a lot
 through community members, is people come in,
 put in these buildings that the community that lives there doesn’t
want, but what the outsiders think they want. So that was really valuable to us
 is knowing that community input is what will lead to success. And then listening to all views and perspectives
of people is crucial, putting yourself in their position,
 and being open to understanding all the perspectives
 that are coming in. We found what it takes, the qualities it
takes, to be a successful community member. And then using the information that you
learn from these communities in a positive way
 is really what the Land Bank does. They take the information in
 and they try to put that towards bettering the communities. Collaboration is key to change. Like I said, nonprofits, when they come
together they are a very strong force
 and they benefit from each other. Throughout business and work, friendship is
a necessity. Our office was always friendly. They loved working, coming to work,
 so friendship is key. Having a voice is important. Kyle and I kinda got an interest in nonprofits,
 just learning all about them. And then we kinda got to see the connect
 between health and housing, which was kinda cool. We got to look up a lot of cool facts. So that has been the serviceship takeaways. So next slide. Thank you for listening and is there any
questions? Great job, Sydney. Thank you so much. Hi Sydney, Chuck Schroder. Listen, number one, I’m just so pleased
 with experience there this summer. How much did you learn about the plans with
the legislature in an upcoming session? Anything you could add on that? So I actually,
 Kyle was more interested in that kind of realm of things. But I do know that they do want to expand
 and to use the Omaha Land Bank as a setting stone. And even the Omaha Land Bank wants to expand
further into the Omaha areas. So like to counsel bluffs in different areas
like that. So I do know that. And Marty met with a lot of people
 that are dealing with that and he’s more focused on,
 I think this time around, he’s gonna be more focused on
 getting the community what it needs, kind of. But I was not actually that involved in
that, Kyle was. So I’m sorry I can’t answer that question
 as well as I should. Sydney, that was a great presentation
 and this is Connie Reimers-Hild with the Rural Futures Institute. I’m wondering what advice would you give
us based on your experience. We hear a lot about housing, specifically
in rural. Now what advice would you give us
 just knowing what you know now? I think it would benefit small communities
a lot just from being there. The amount of people it does effect
 and the amount of people it gives hope for owning a house
 and is really admirable, I think. I think my advice would just be listening
 to the community members that live in those communities. That was my biggest takeaway from my entire
summer is how important community input is
 when it comes to these situations. So that would be my biggest thing I would
suggest. Great, thank you. Thank you so much, Sydney,
 and best of luck to you in your program and your semester at Peru State this semester. Take care. Thank you!
 (clapping)

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