Neighborhood program helps over 30 local homeowners
Council Bluffs, Iowa, November 24, 2021 - TS Bank partnered with The 712 Initiative and Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs to launch a new neighborhood program called AMP (for neighborhoods). Originally, the program started with a total of $5,000 donated by TS Bank, Black Hills Energy, and Real Property Management, Deb and Pete Petersen focused on assisting homeowners with repair and curb-appeal-type projects.
Following the announcement seeking applicants, The 712 Initiative received an anonymous $100,000 donation specifically for the AMP program, which boosted the funds available to $105,000.
As the program gained momentum, the Council Bluffs Housing Fund donated $24,887.04 and the anonymous donor gifted an additional $100,000 bringing the grand total to $253,887.04.
Individuals were encouraged to nominate themselves or a neighbor with outdoor housing needs.
Over 50 applications were received in the Council Bluffs area. Project requests ranged from landscaping, siding, painting, fencing, driveways, sidewalks, windows, roofing and exterior doors.
"The generosity of this anonymous donor and the love for Council Bluffs is simply incredible," said Sheryl Garst, CEO of The 712 Initiative. "The households nominated by their neighbors are hardworking individuals and families that simply did not have the disposable income for these types of projects."
According to a recent housing study conducted from the Sherwood Foundation, 40 percent of households do not have $400 to cover an emergency.
"Add in the damage from the fall storms we all experienced, and the porch deck, fencing, or exterior paint job can fall quickly down on the priority list and can feel overwhelming," added Garst.
To date, nearly $130,000 has been expensed for the first set of 17 selected projects. Eight of these projects will be completed by this December with the remainder to start in the spring. The entirety of the $253,887 will be used by year-end 2022 and will help a total of 31 homeowners.
Nominated by a neighbor, Angela Hartle, a single homeowner worked very hard on her home and yard to keep it looking great. She enlisted the help of her family and would often take on projects herself. With the help of the West Pottawattamie County Master Gardeners and TS Bank employees, Angela’s front yard was transformed and now has even more curb appeal on her historic street.
“The program was amazing and all the volunteers were great. I am so grateful for all the work they did," said homeowner, Angela Hartle.
The AMP program assistance was greatly appreciated by a local family who has experienced various hardships the last several years. Matt and Meghan Sewing’s seven-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare medical condition. In 2019, she needed a bone marrow transplant and her 12-year-old sister was an exact match. As a law enforcement officer and Kindergarten teacher while caring for their three children, outdoor home repairs were a low priority.
With this past fall storm damage, the family’s fence was unstable and starting to rot. Over 75 volunteers assisted with the project including The 712 Initiative, TS Bank, Lewis Central Schools, Council Bluffs Community Schools, Nebraska Methodist Nursing, Kansas University engineering students, Principal Choice Solutions and others to remove and replace 40 fence posts and reinstate 600 wooden pickets.
“Our family is beyond grateful for this experience," said homeowner, Meghan Sewing. "We have been blown away by everyone who has given of their time and talent to work on our fence. We will be reminded of this blessing every time we are outside enjoying the beautiful yard and fence. Thank you!"
Two neighbors came together in one request, the Medeiros family and Fuller family, who have a shared driveway and needed a new pad paved due to water runoff damage along with rebuilding 10 capstones. The combined request help defer costs and accomplished an immediate need. Additionally, these neighbors worked on the frontline during the pandemic; one as a repository therapist and the other as a nurse.
“The process was very seamless! After the difficulties of the last two years we are so thankful to have a smooth driveway for our home and a safe place for our kids to play,” said homeowner, Abby Medeiros. “It’s a blessing we share the driveway with the best neighbors, but we were likely not to have funds at the same time to replace. The AMP program made this possible!”
Other contributing sponsors included Black Hills Energy and Real Property Management, Deb and Pete Petersen. Additionally, the AMP program will assist the Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs home repair programming offerings and future down payment assistance programs.
To help volunteer for a spring house project contact Turner Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the project at tsbank.com/amp.
About The 712 Initiative: Through effective partnerships and promotion of existing programs, The 712 Initiative place-making agency helps develop innovative solutions to strengthen the city’s downtown and West Broadway areas thus improving housing conditions, encouraging healthier lifestyle choices and making Council Bluffs a destination among residents and visitors. For more information, visit The712initiative.org.
About TS Bank: TS Bank’s mission is to Ignite Prosperity® in the communities it serves. Leading the resurgence of community banking, TS Bank reinvests 10 percent of their net income locally; hosting educational events and partners with local organizations and non-profits. TS Bank was chartered in 1923 and has $365 million in assets, along with the largest Iowa state-chartered C-Corp trust department west of Des Moines at nearly $218 million in assets named TS Prosperity Group. Locations include Treynor, Macedonia, Atlantic, Corning, Council Bluffs and Ames, Iowa. For more information, visit tsbank.com.