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New community warmth center opens in Council Bluffs

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 3:40 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (WOWT) - The New Vision Homeless Services officially opened their community warming center for the first time today in Council Bluffs.

The COO of New Vision Homeless Services, Brandy Waller, says “We’ve never had one in our community before. This facility is going to be open seven days a week for anyone who needs to get out of the harsh elements.”

The building provides food, clothes, entertainment, and more for the people in need.

Before, the homeless could access other services in the metro area like the library and other pier centers but because of COVID, their time is limited to half an hour. The facility that is provided here gives accessibility to one’s need for a longer and safe socially distant time during the winter.

“Sometimes traditional warming centers would only be open if the weather is low by a certain amount but we understand that it’s hard to know the weather when your standing outside and that cold is cold,” said Waller.

So that’s why New Vision provides their services all week for the next couple of months from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers at the warmth center feel it’s important to provide these necessities that come through the door.

Dalton Messersmith, the Shelter Program Director, says, “In my opinion, everything we’re providing out of here is a basic human right. Everybody should be entitled to take a shower, have a jacket, a warm place to be, and a safe place to be.”

Whether it’s providing warmth, basic necessities, and more, the community warm center could be saving lives.

“Maybe it’s getting someone with the right case management to pursue housing options or work options, says Messersmith. Whatever that needs to look like, it could be the difference but between someone having a safe place to keep them going and not.”

Waller says they just got the keys to the building two days ago and they’re expecting a lot more foot traffic tomorrow when the snow comes.

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