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Council Bluffs homeless shelter receives new seating donation from Iowa Western construction tech students

Posted at 7:34 PM, Sep 21, 2022

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — From run-down chairs to brand new benches.

"It's nice, it's very nice and it looks better too," Corey Schovanec, a New Visions guest, said.

Seeing the need, high school students in Council Bluffs — who are dual-enrolled in the Iowa Western Community College construction tech classes — quickly got to work.

"While the executive director for economic development was onsite, they noticed that a lot of our guys were sitting on, you know, chairs or milk crates," said Brandy Wallar, CEO of the New Visions homeless shelter.

From there, nine wooden benches were built, stained and delivered.

"It's great that, you know, others are looking out for the people that need it, big time, and to have something solid to sit on — rather than raggedy old chairs — because we have seen a lot of them fold," Schovanec said.

Wallar said with homelessness on the rise the benches give visitors some extra space.

"Having benches outside, where they can go and take a seat and just take a deep breath, you know, and have their own space is very important and to do it in a dignified manner is important too," Wallar said.

These benches also represent a new partnership between the college and the shelter.

The school is working to help build a classroom at the shelter and soon offer courses to the visitors.

"We are also going to partner with our short-term credit certificate programs, so they can enroll in some type of training like a welding certificate or culinary, here on site and eventually going to campus," said Libby Woods, director of adult education at Iowa Western.

Wallar said seeing this partnership, and community, form makes her optimistic for the future.

"Having partnerships like this, having individuals and schools that said 'Hey, we are going to be part of the solution,' — it brings so much hope and it makes me know that our community is on the right path to ending homelessness," Wallar said.

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