Burke students among those displaced in Legacy Crossing closure


Juel Washington

Still sitting next to the Legacy Crossing Apartments sign on Feb. 9, a sofa is abandoned after residents were rushed to move out of the complex when the city condemned the complex in December.

In late December over 400 residents of the Legacy Crossing Apartments at 10535 Ellison Plaza were left homeless after the city of Omaha shut it down due to poor living conditions and management. Being just under six miles away from the school, several of those residents included Burke students.

Senior Caden Coltrane, his brother, junior Jordan Coltrane, and their mother were some of the residents who got the eviction notice on Dec. 12 saying they had to be out by Dec. 19.

“It was pretty rushed,” Caden Coltrane said. “My mom didn’t get much notice, and I don’t think that the city handled it well.”

According to Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, efforts were made to help the residents.

“We are fortunate to have community partners who have generously provided approximately $250,000 already to assist tenants with relocation costs including temporary housing deposits for new apartments and other unexpected expenses,” Stothert said in a Dec. 19 press conference. “We have identified over 100 apartments through the Apartment Association of Nebraska that are available and move in ready for the tenants. The Omaha Community Foundation has created a Legacy Crossing Emergency Relief Fund.”

Stothert and other city officials deemed it necessary to shut the complex down “due to widespread, severe and dangerous fire safety and health violations,” she said in the press conference.

Stothert cited 37 open housing code complaints from tenants with half of those complaints requiring the apartments to be vacated due to the severity of the conditions.

“Recent violations include no heat, collapsed ceilings, raw sewage in standing water, rodent and cockroach infestations, water damage and mold and water damage electrical wiring and there are code violations in every building, fire code violations,” she said.

Now ex-resident 20-year-old Rose Dennedy confirmed what the mayor said and understood the reason for the closure.

“I had every problem imaginable with my space,” Kennedy said. “It was for its own good. Mold was in my bathroom for months from leaks.”

The Coltranes also saw similar issues in their apartment.

There was “definitely the mold in the bathrooms like, stuff like that and then for at least my apartment heating and air conditioning was a little iffy,” Caden Coltrane said.

The Coltranes ended up moving in with their grandparents in La Vista.

“Our family was like, just wanting us to come and pretty much just like, ‘we’ll help you out’” Caden Coltrane said. “I mean, it was almost easier than having to look for a new apartment.”

Moving in with family members did create some obstacles like the boys having to share a bedroom and having a longer route to get to school. However, the emotional impact of having to leave their childhood home was also heavy for both Coltrane brothers.

“It’s just a big transition that made life chaotic temporarily,” Jordan Coltrane said.

Caden Coltrane reflected more on leaving the past behind and being grateful things weren’t worse for him and his family.

“It was my home growing up,” he said. “It was just taken away from me. It’s not easy to go through, but I’m with my family right now. We’re all together, so that’s all that really matters.

Senior Noah Ewing was another student who had to uproot his life due to the eviction. Ewing was especially frustrated with how residents of Legacy Crossing were communicated with.

“I have relatives close by, so it wasn’t really crazy moving,” Ewing said. “Most residents found out days earlier than others, at first it was kind of messy.

While the Coltranes and Ewing have found other living arrangements, if anyone who was displaced by the closure of Legacy Crossing Apartments needs assistance or resources, Heartland Family Services may be reached on their hotline at: 531-721-7401.