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Residents carry their belongings in September as the city of Omaha shuts down the squalid Yale Park Apartments at 34th and Lake Streets.

In the four months since the Yale Park Apartments were evacuated, former tenants have found new apartments or become first-time homeowners.

And throughout the holiday season, the Omaha community — including churches, yoga studios, families and local businesses — have continued to lend a hand to residents, most of whom are refugees from Myanmar.

According to Hannah Wyble, whose group, Restoring Dignity, works with refugees:

  • Sponsors have volunteered to help 96 families get re-homed with new or donated furniture and household items. (Four-and-a-half sponsors are still needed for remaining families; contact Restoring Dignity at email@rdomaha.com if you’re interested.)
  • Before Christmas, a donor gave 100 smoked turkeys to Yale Park families.
  • Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative donated 65 gift baskets to Yale Park families with young children. The gift baskets included a laundry basket, a teddy bear, children’s book and soaps.
  • Black Belt Movers helped collect furniture from more than 24 households and dropped off two truckloads of furniture to a Restoring Dignity storage unit.
  • Mission Church provided a storage unit and drop-off site for donations to Yale Park families. Sponsors have been using these donations to furnish new houses and apartments.
  • A number of churches have sponsored several Yale Park families, including St. Cecilia Cathedral, Citylight Omaha, GraceHill Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Pius X , St. Wenceslaus and Relevant Community Church. Some volunteers have gone above and beyond to work with families, Wyble said, by providing after-school tutoring for kids and teaching families how to build furniture and do home upkeep.
  • Thrasher Inc. donated more than $20,000 worth of labor and supplies last month to waterproof the basement of a former Yale Park family that moved out prior to the city shutting down the property.

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Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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