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

 

Tackling housing and food instability in Council Bluffs 6

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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Marsha Park
1 day ago

Great organization

Christine Blum
1 day ago

Great organization doing great things.

N. Elise DeVore
1 day ago

So blessed to have them in our community!

Barb Morrison
2 days ago

Great organization . Doing a wonderful job.

Philip Meyer
2 days ago

Nice project.

Christy Sauser
2 days ago

Great way to support our community.

Brandon
2 days ago

New Visions makes a difference in our community.

Thomas Emmett
2 days ago

Wonderful!

Alek M
2 days ago

Great work!

Glennay Jundt
2 days ago

Thanks all.

Kimberly Kolakowski
2 days ago

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

Jared Tripp
2 days ago

Amazing!

Cieandra Tripp
2 days ago

Such an amazing organization!

Last edited 2 days ago by Cieandra Tripp
Tami Cull
3 days ago

This is such a great organization in our community

Marvella
3 days ago

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

Kat Dunham
3 days ago

New Visions is so important to Council Bluffs

Linda Bladt
3 days ago

Thank you Tami!

Jenny
3 days ago

Thank you New Visions

Mary G
3 days ago

Great opportunity to help our community

Bob S
3 days ago

Appreciate the community support

Robbie
3 days ago

Thank you new visions

CCS
3 days ago

What a great organization

Cindy C
3 days ago

New Visions is wonderful for our community

Teresa Milner
3 days ago

Keep going strong Smith Davis!!

Carol Horner
3 days ago

#ServiceAboveSelf

Becky
3 days ago

Thanks New Visions

Dan
3 days ago

Vote everyone!

Madilyn
3 days ago

Vote, vote, vote

Amy
3 days ago

Great cause!!!!

Tom
3 days ago

Great organization

Jacquie
3 days ago

Make this happen

Mindy
3 days ago

Vote for this please!

Antonia Krupicka-Smith
3 days ago

Such a great organization serving our community.

Lynn Ayers
3 days ago

New Visions saved my life.

Brandy Wallar
3 days ago

We are so close!

Emma Boyd
3 days ago

Amazing!!

Pat
3 days ago

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

Kim
3 days ago

Great work, New Visions!

Tami Cull
3 days ago

Support our local service and vote

Tami Cull
3 days ago

let’s get the 500 votes

Rick Guill
3 days ago

New Visions is such an asset to our community!! VOTE

Joe disalvo
3 days ago

Vote, help reach this goal!

Kasha Wilson
3 days ago

New Visions is a wonderful organization that helps our community immensely!

Clark David
4 days ago

support our community

Tamara
4 days ago

Providing for the those experiencing homelessness is so needed!

Tami
4 days ago

Vote, for your community

Tami
4 days ago

we cam do this!

linda
4 days ago

A worthy cause!

Tamara
4 days ago

we need to support this organization!

Tamara
4 days ago

spread the word!

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