Tackling housing and food instability in Council Bluffs

Founded in 1995, New Visions Homeless Services provides vital support to those experiencing homelessness and hunger in the Council Bluffs and Omaha communities. The nonprofit primarily offers shelter and food, but also does what it can to address the root causes of those instabilities and repair the humanity and hope of those who have fallen on hard times. Smith Davis Insurance supports this mission with time and dollars – particularly during the depths of winter when people experiencing homelessness are at their most vulnerable.

 

If this story receives 500 votes, the $5,000 donation New Visions has already earned will double to $10,000. Vote by sharing it on social media, or leave a comment below.

Reverend Harry Wallar and his wife Ginny founded New Visions Homeless Services – originally Christian Worship Center – with the mission of eliminating hunger and homelessness in Council Bluffs and its surrounding areas. They started out distributing meals from a bus under the Council Bluffs viaduct before moving in to their first brick and mortar location in 1996.

The New Visions Complex in Council Bluffs, opened in 2008, offers an emergency shelter for men, permanent supportive housing for single men and women, a meal site that seats 250 and supportive services for the homeless and near-homeless.

Tackling housing and food instability in Council Bluffs 7

Meeting a critical need

The need for services for those experiencing housing and food instability in this region straddling the Iowa-Nebraska border is significant. Each year, New Visions provides temporary shelter to more than 800 people, feeds more than 2,400 and houses more than 150 who would otherwise be homeless.

By latest count, 1,389 people in the area live on the streets, in shelters or in transitional housing. Many cope with mental illness, substance use disorders and histories of trauma. New Visions strives to address these and other factors with trauma-informed support that puts people back on the path to hope.

The gift of giving

Smith Davis shares New Visions’ hope that the community can eliminate hunger and homelessness – and it does more than simply donate dollars to the cause.

Volunteers gather and deliver food donations and serve meals at the shelter quarterly. Over the holidays, the agency adopts seven families in need, raising money to make sure they have gifts around their Christmas trees.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing the sheer joy of a child used to going without opening a gift.”

– Tami Cull, Smith Davis agent

 

Tackling housing and food instability in Council Bluffs 5
Smith Davis agent Tami Cull playing Santa.

Families furnish wish lists of what they – parents and children – want from Santa, and Smith Davis makes it happen, buying the gifts and bringing them to a drive-thru gift pick-up event at the New Visions shelter.

For Tami Cull, the Smith Davis agent who orchestrates the agency’s support of New Visions, gift-giving is among its most important contributions. “There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing the sheer joy of a child used to going without opening a gift,” says Cull.

With the cost of essentials like food, gas and utilities rapidly rising, New Visions’ clients need to be extremely careful with where they spend their dollars. “Christmas is not in the budget,” says Brandy Waller, New Visions’ CEO. “We want to make sure Santa is there on Christmas morning for every single family in our community.”

The annual Christmas gift-giving event also serves as a reminder not to take one’s own good fortune for granted. “Witnessing a mother stand in line for two hours in below-zero temperatures to make sure she has gifts to give to her children is humbling,” says Cull.

“We want to make sure Santa is there on Christmas morning for every single family in our community.”

– Brandy Waller, New Visions CEO

 

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Help spread the cheer

Help Smith Davis Insurance win $10,000 for New Visions Homeless Services by cheering them on with a comment below and sharing their story to social media using the buttons to the left!

If your agency volunteers with a 501(c)3 nonprofit, learn how you can win a Make More Happen Award here.

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Edna Robinson
1 month ago

Vote!!

Aggie
2 months ago

Keep up the great work

Participant
2 months ago

This is such a wonderful story. New Visions is here to help fill the needed gap. Best of luck, New Visions, and thank you for all you do.

Catrina Trabal
2 months ago

New Visions is such an impactful and necessary organization for our community!!

Blanca Mejia
2 months ago

Thank you so much for making a difference in our community!!!!

Alan Aguilar
2 months ago

What a great cause!

Morgan Sexton
3 months ago

❤️

Mitch McCartney
3 months ago

New Visions is a great organization.

Fernando Peoples
3 months ago

Great Organization.

Laura Hays
3 months ago

Amazing cause!

Kim Wickersham
3 months ago

Great organization.

Tami
3 months ago

So critical to our community

Marsha Park
3 months ago

Great organization

Christine Blum
3 months ago

Great organization doing great things.

N. Elise DeVore
3 months ago

So blessed to have them in our community!

Barb Morrison
3 months ago

Great organization . Doing a wonderful job.

Philip Meyer
3 months ago

Nice project.

Christy Sauser
3 months ago

Great way to support our community.

Brandon
3 months ago

New Visions makes a difference in our community.

Thomas Emmett
3 months ago

Wonderful!

Alek M
3 months ago

Great work!

Glennay Jundt
3 months ago

Thanks all.

Kimberly Kolakowski
3 months ago

I love New Visions…we are so lucky to have them in our community!

Jared Tripp
3 months ago

Amazing!

Cieandra Tripp
3 months ago

Such an amazing organization!

Last edited 3 months ago by Cieandra Tripp
Tami Cull
3 months ago

This is such a great organization in our community

Marvella
3 months ago

This is a wonderful way to help people in need! Hope you get to double the help you will give!

Kat Dunham
3 months ago

New Visions is so important to Council Bluffs

Linda Bladt
3 months ago

Thank you Tami!

Jenny
3 months ago

Thank you New Visions

Mary G
3 months ago

Great opportunity to help our community

Bob S
3 months ago

Appreciate the community support

Robbie
3 months ago

Thank you new visions

CCS
3 months ago

What a great organization

Cindy C
3 months ago

New Visions is wonderful for our community

Teresa Milner
3 months ago

Keep going strong Smith Davis!!

Carol Horner
3 months ago

#ServiceAboveSelf

Becky
3 months ago

Thanks New Visions

Dan
3 months ago

Vote everyone!

Madilyn
3 months ago

Vote, vote, vote

Amy
3 months ago

Great cause!!!!

Tom
3 months ago

Great organization

Jacquie
3 months ago

Make this happen

Mindy
3 months ago

Vote for this please!

Antonia Krupicka-Smith
3 months ago

Such a great organization serving our community.

Lynn Ayers
3 months ago

New Visions saved my life.

Brandy Wallar
3 months ago

We are so close!

Emma Boyd
3 months ago

Amazing!!

Pat
3 months ago

Such a great cause!! Awesome work for a huge need.

Kim
3 months ago

Great work, New Visions!

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