Disabled military veteran calls for more affordable housing in Lincoln

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It seems like every time you turn around there's new construction, or new apartments being built, but a lot of these places are made for students, or young professionals.

Rodney Pillard tells 10/11 News he served in Vietnam, and this week he had to face the realization he might be homeless, and he said it's a problem a lot of people his age in Lincoln are going to have to deal with.

"What are all of these people gonna do when they get old? Where are they gonna go?" asked Pillard.

Rodney Pillard said he served our country in Vietnam from 1970 to 1975. He now lives in Lincoln, and last month his landlord told him this property he rents is sold and he needed to find somewhere to live.

"Oh god, I went everywhere, I went through everybody, I called everywhere, opened the phone book and just started calling," said Pillard.

Rodney said he reached out to the Lincoln Housing Authority, optimistic they could help, but he said they couldn't.

"I went though Lincoln Housing Authority and they mailed me papers with all these things and you call them and they have waiting lists," said Pillard.

Rodney isn't the only one on this waiting list.

"We have approximately 4,000 families on our wait-list for assistance," said Executive Director of the Lincoln Housing Authority Larry Potratz.

Potratz said there simply isn't enough affordable housing in Lincoln, and the people who need help aren't getting it.

"They aren't, its as simple as that, new construction is very expensive, if you're an owner of a newly constructed unit you have to raise your rent sufficiently to cover your debt," said Potratz.

Potratz said the local Veteran Affairs is building homes for low income veterans, but even those won't be open for another year, and there will only be about 70 units. So Rodney has a message for the city of Lincoln.

"They need to build some more and quit concentrating so much on the Haymarket," said Rodney Pillard.

Rodney Pillard said me he was finally able to find housing thanks to the League of Human Dignity, but he said he is lucky, and he worries other veterans with disabilities might not be.