The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

The North Star

North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program

Graphic+by+Zareena+Abdessalam
Graphic by Zareena Abdessalam

In March 2020, when schools first started to shut down, it would have been near impossible to predict the effects that COVID-19 had on the community. Based on a report by students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 93% of nonprofits said that their organization was negatively impacted by COVID-19.  

People around the world saw the effects of COVID-19 firsthand in their communities, in their towns and in their own homes. Even now, small businesses are still facing issues and having to shut down due to staffing issues or bankruptcy.  

A grant is a quantity of money given by a government, organization, or person for a specific purpose, according to Market Business News. Grants are often given out to help solve a few of the problems faced by small businesses, like finances.  

Recently, the Department of Economic Development passed the North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program (NSORG) to combat the growing effects the COVID-19 had in Omaha.  

The NSORG was signed into law by Governor Jim Pillen on June 6, 2023. To help around the community, the North and South Omaha Recovery Grants can be used to support small businesses, housing recovery, sports and tourism, as well as entrepreneurship and innovations.  

There are eight total grant categories an organization can apply for, as well as special threshold requirements and scoring criteria for each, to be accepted. The grant is open to both public and private entities, but single organizations can only earn up to two awards according to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. All North and South Omaha Recovery Grants can be found on the Nebraska Department of Economic Development website.  

Chairperson for the Economic Recovery Special Committee as well as senator for District 13, Justin Wayne wrote a letter to his fellow senators about the recovery act according to the Economic Recovery Grant Program Coordination Plan. 

“Though the bill itself may just be words on paper, and the funding may just be dollars and cents, the Act represents so much more,” Wayne said in the letter. 

He continued to go more in depth with the fundamentals of the plan and its main goals as the letter went on. 

The North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program took many months to get the law passed. 

 During the week of August 15, 2022, the project team involved in creating the NSORG program held a workshop with community Stakeholders to understand the needs of the North and South Omaha communities directly, based on the Economic Recovery Grant Program Coordination Plan.  

Through this workshop, research and face-to-face engagement with the public, the project team found four recurring themes that needed to be implemented in the NSORG program.  

The first theme was Human Capital and Job Creation. The next themes were Infrastructure, Access to Capital, Relationships, and Education. The final theme was Culture. All these ideas helped build the North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program and helped communities and small businesses in Omaha thrive. 

In total, the NSORG program has received over 300 million dollars in federal and state money to provide relief to North and South Omaha according to an article by Nebraska Public Media. 

As stated in the Economic Recovery Grant Program Coordination Plan, “The North and South Omaha communities will experience transformation, fundamental change, and long-lasting economic growth.”  

 

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Zareena Abdessalam, News Writer

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