News + Events
August 16, 2022
Building Equity and Wealth in South Omaha: The Community Investment Trust Project
Canopy South is spearheading the transformation of a vacant mortuary to a workforce development hub on South 24th St. The Center will offer a range of services, including resume assistance, computer training, career coaching, employment planning, adult education, entrepreneurial support, and recruiting events. The goal is to provide services to individuals at various stages of their careers, from recent graduates looking to land their first job to adult learners looking to make a career change later in life. Services will be provided in multiple languages to ensure that all members of the community have equal access to resources and support for their career development.
The project, however, is much more than just a physical space. Residents from the surrounding 68107 ZIP code will be invited to invest in the updated commercial property for as little as $10 or $100 a month. Prior to the investment, they will be required to take financial literacy classes to understand the risks and benefits of investing. The project will serve as a way for community members to build equity and receive annual dividends of about 6% to 8% through rents paid by agencies occupying the facility. The model is based on a venture by Mercy Corps in Portland, Oregon and will be the first of its kind in Omaha.
The project fits within Canopy South’s “Economic Vitality” pillar. Our goal is to ensure that not only businesses are thriving, but also ensuring that residents have the opportunity to generate wealth. Employers and business representatives will be a key part of the operation as they reach out for help filling gaps in their labor force. The goal of the hub is to prepare candidates for placement in upwardly mobile careers. Partner agencies, including the Nebraska Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services and Metropolitan Community College, will also provide services in the building, subleasing space from Heartland Workforce Solutions, and working in sync to offer a one-stop shop for linking people with employment.
The community investment trust is being seen as a way to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and enhance community pride, as well as reduce crime and increase property values in the long run.
To learn more about the project, read the Nebraska Examiner’s “Federal ARPA funds help turn fire-damanged South Omaha funeral parlor into job center”.
June 10, 2022