Originally published: August 16, 2022
New Visions awarded almost $300k in grants by United Way of the Midlands
New Visions Homeless Services has been awarded two grants totaling $297,000 through United Way of the Midlands.
The larger grant of $177,000 will be used to provide emergency shelter and veterans services at its campuses in Council Bluffs and Omaha over the next two years, according to a press release from New Visions.
With the help of this grant, New Visions will be able to offer emergency food and shelter to almost 500 people in Council Bluffs during the coming year, the press release stated. In addition, its Omaha Veterans Campus will be able to serve almost 150 veterans who are experiencing homelessness.
One veteran whose life was transformed by his experience at New Visions was Jerry, according to the press release. He came to New Visions Omaha Veterans Campus in 2020 with a serious addiction to alcohol. He did what he was asked to at New Visions. He took advantage of the individual counseling sessions he was offered and was open to change. By 2021, he was on the road to sobriety, starting his own business and even getting partial custody of his child. He made a successful transition to living in his own apartment and, in early 2022, joined the New Visions staff to help other veterans in their efforts toward healing.
“Support from the United Way ensures that New Visions can continue offering a hand up to individuals like Jerry,” said Brandy Wallar, interim CEO. “We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of every person who made this possible by contributing to the United Way.”
Inflation has made it difficult for nonprofits to provide services to as many people, Wallar said.
“We have to be very cautious with how we’re running,” she said. “The cost of inflation is really making it hard for nonprofits to fulfill their mission, so having those additional funds from United Way really gives us a way to make sure we don’t have to reduce our services.”
The second grant, a $120,000 award from United Way on behalf of the City of Omaha, comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was intended to provide financial relief as America rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be used to serve additional veterans at New Visions Omaha Veterans Campus, Wallar said. Tenants staying in apartments there, who have been all single men in the past, have doubled up to free up space for female veterans, she said.
“Currently, Omaha does not have any resources dedicated to serving female veterans who are experiencing homelessness,” said Steve Roberts, director of the New Visions Omaha Veterans Campus, “and we find this to be unacceptable.”
New Visions hopes to establish a new transitional housing program that would increase the number of veterans served in the Omaha metro, Roberts said. In addition to female veterans, the program would serve National Guard and Reservists who were never activated for a national emergency.
“These individuals do not accrue veteran benefits, and New Visions wishes to serve them as well,” he said.
Said Wallar, “It’s our hope that we can use this funding to meet the basic needs of these individuals and get them on the road to permanent housing.”