There is an abnormality in eastern Nebraska where a small section of Pottawattamie County, Iowa sits on the west side of the Missouri River. What is now known as Carter Lake once sat on the eastern bank of the Missouri River in Iowa. A flood in 1877 caused the river to change course and that section of Iowa land ended up on the Nebraska side. Both states wanted to claim the section so it ended up court. It was decided Carter Lake was a part of Iowa. It is located just south of Eppley Airfield and is basically a suburb of Omaha in Douglas County.
You walk across Abbott Drive and you are back in Nebraska and there sits Omaha’s Open Door Mission. CEO Candace Gregory sees plenty of problems with a casino placed so close to a homeless shelter.
Gregory says the casino sits in a poverty zip code, it is within walking distance of a vulnerable population that already have problems with addiction. She says the Open Door Mission and other non-profits will end up picking up the pieces of broken lives. She says there are a number of other social issues that will be costly to taxpayers.
Gregory says, “It attracts people, not only the vulnerable population but the people that prey on the vulnerable population. There is a wave of human and economic consequences that can be crippling to hundreds of households. It is the alcohol. It is the street drugs. It is the prostitution. It is the sex trafficking. It is everything that goes with it.” Gregory says the rate of problem gambling among the homeless is nine times higher than the general population.
Gregory says the Mission is already stretched beyond their limits serving the metro area homeless population. She says right now women and children are sleeping on the floor at one of their shelters and winter hasn’t set in yet.