Omaha City Officials took extraordinary steps on Thursday to address major concerns and code violations at the Yale Park Apartments at 34th and Lake. Until a long list of repairs can be made, all 500 residents, including 170 children, are being forced to evacuate.
The moves comes after the City received more than 90 complaints about squalid living conditions in the past five days. After checking on the complaints throughout the day, inspectors had the electricity cut and "Danger Closed" signs will be put up.
Chief Housing Inspector Scott Lane says 90 percent of the 100 unit complex had bed bugs, lice, maggots and remnants of rodents. About 40 percent of the units had gas leaks
"This place has been a rat trap and an eyesore the whole time," City Councilman Ben Gray said. "We have allowed slumlords to continue to exist....It is going to take all of us in the community to get involved and make these phone calls and press the city. Press my office, press me."
Mayor Jean Stothert says this situation is a humanitarian effort "for the health, safety and welfare of the tenants of these apartment. "We did receive some information that there could even be life-threatening conditions within these apartments and we could not let that go."
Residents will be directed to two emergency shelters the City has set up at community centers. Officials hope to move beyond that arrangement within a week. They plan to work with the people to help them find new apartments or possibly move into home ownership.
The Salvation Army is stepping in to help meet the need for food for those displaced. The property owner, Kay Anderson, will be presented with a complete list of the violations uncovered. He'll be given 30 days to make corrections. Inspectors will review the progress at that time.