Together Omaha transforms former hotel into a shelter for homeless


Sara Meadows

The hotel will have 58 available rooms when renovations are completed next month. Photo courtesy of Together via Facebook.

Local nonprofit Together has been renovating an old downtown hotel into a homeless shelter for older adults.

The idea for the hotel is to help older people who are experiencing homelessness along with certain health conditions stay safe as they transition into more permanent housing.

The nonprofit saw the concept for the hotel across the country and knew they were going to need something similar in the metro. They saw a need for assistance when it came to those who were experiencing homelessness due to COVID-19.

The shelter will have its own staff on board, including a case management team, as well as a registered nurse. Like a hotel, there is food available every day, along with housekeeping and 24/7 security on site.

Mike Hornacek, President and CEO of Together, hopes the hotel will have a positive effect on the community.

“Moving from a pilot project to a permanent project provides an opportunity for us to really showcase the positive outcomes and the impact of this program,” says Hornacek.

The pilot for the program took place last year for about eight to nine months using two hotels with a total of 180 rooms. The pilot ended up being a huge success, resulting in the city of Omaha asking the nonprofit to make it a permanent program of Together.

“The downside is that I wish there were more capacity, we had 180 rooms last year and only 58 this year, but no matter what we’re still extremely grateful,” says Hornacek.

The organization started accepting referrals on Jan. 17, and within just a couple of days, they already had 20 guests in the hotel. After all renovations are completed next month, the hotel will have all 58 rooms available, which will fill quickly.

For privacy and safety concerns, the location of the hotel is not being disclosed.