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Council Bluffs homes receive makeovers to improve curb appeal; it's a collaboration between 3 organizations

Wanda Knuth
Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 29, 2022

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — The recipients of the 2022 AMP for Neighborhoods in Council Bluffs were announced on Monday. This program is meant as a way to improve the curb appeal of homes in the city.

This effort was made possible due to the collaboration of The 712 Initiative, Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs and TS Bank.

Of the 115 applications, there were 17 projects selected.

See the full press release below:

The 712 Initiative, Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs and TS Bank are pleased to announce this year's recipients of AMP for Neighborhoods, which helps Council Bluffs homeowners complete curb appeal projects.

Original funding came from several local businesses, and thanks to an anonymous donor the program received a major boost in its inaugural year. With the ongoing partnerships and the generosity of this donor, the AMP program continues to thrive in year two.

Individuals were encouraged to nominate themselves or a neighbor with outdoor housing needs. Additionally, neighborhoods could apply for their own block initiatives. Project requests ranged from landscaping, siding, painting, fencing, driveways, sidewalks, windows, roofing and exterior doors.

This year, 115 applications were received and 17 projects were selected. Three current homeowner projects are highlighted here with the remaining projects being announced at a later date.

“Council Bluffs, unfortunately, has very old housing stock and some working-class households that do not have the disposable income to address these sometimes costly repairs,” stated Sheryl Garst, CEO of the 712 Initiative. “This is such an important piece of a healthy vibrant community to help individuals stay in their home and visibility show their pride of ownership. We are again so grateful to this donor and TS Bank for their continued shared vision and support of this program.”

One of the 2022 AMP homeowner recipients is Wanda Knuth, a proud grandmother to 38 grandchildren. Her home will receive new windows, new doors, a new roof, including siding and an updated porch.

Wanda Knuth
Home of Wanda Knuth, 2022 AMP Recipient, home repairs forthcoming including new windows, doors and a new roof.

Wanda and her late husband bought this home in 1998 and it has been the hub for her family through the years. Experiencing much loss with the death of her husband and one of her sons, while also dealing with breast cancer, a broken hip and other health issues – she considers this AMP project a blessing.

“I feel like my family is back together and feel so happy about that. I can sense that presence and know my husband and son would have enjoyed that. Having these projects done makes me feel more comfortable,” shared Wanda Knuth. “It feels like I have been given a million dollars, I’d like to die in this home.”

Wanda was nominated by her daughter-in-law and grandchildren and depicts the essence of the AMP program – neighbors nominating neighbors, building community pride, and strengthening families.

Her son, John Liddick added, “It’s been hard the last few years; this means so much to my mom and our family.”

In addition to the AMP program, Wanda’s home is also part of the Habitat for Humanity repair program. There is hope to also put up a proper privacy fence for all the grandchildren to run around.

“It’s one thing to read about these wonderful people and their stories on an application – it’s a whole other level of cool when you meet them in person and have an opportunity to impact their lives,” said Turner Morgan, Construction Projects Manager of The 712 Initiative. “Anyone who owns a home knows how much work and expensive it can be. Sometimes life throws you a curve and it is hard to tackle those projects – I am incredibly grateful to work for an organization and community members looking out for one another.”

The AMP program has also been greatly appreciated by Kandi Pruett who has experienced various hardships the last several years, including recently losing her son to cancer.

Kandi Pruett
Home of Kandi Pruett, 2022 AMP Recipient, new roof and other home repairs forthcoming.

This home has been in her family for nearly 80 years as it was her grandmother's home. Kandi grew up just a block away and was thrilled to inherit this house, despite the condition. She works just around the corner at the gas station and loves living so close to work, her coworkers and her community. She is always quick to give a friendly smile and greeting to all the regular customers.

“Anything anyone can help me with I am so grateful. I need a new roof and so appreciative about that - I never expected this,” said Kandi Pruett.

In addition to AMP, Kandi also applied for the Habitat for Humanity critical repair program after encouragement from her coworkers. She has never had the means to get these critical repairs done. Between the two organizations, this home will receive the necessary refresh to live comfortably and help her stay in her home.

sal savala
Home of Sal Savala, 2022 AMP Recipient, window repairs forthcoming.

Sal Savala was encouraged by his neighbors to apply for home repairs. He has had financial strain after his wife passed of breast cancer and living on one income. Sal has been a boxing coach for 40 years, helping local youth in a positive way, as well as drives a wheelchair van and ambulance for a medical transportation company.

"This is a beautiful program for people who need assistance. I am so grateful," said Sal Savala. "With some storm damage, I had a big limb damage my home and look forward to having this fixed, along with a few of my windows."

After this year’s projects, AMP will have assisted nearly 50 households in Council Bluffs to date.

“AMP is a great example of effective partnerships where thought leaders, for-profit and nonprofit organizations and community members collaborate to address community needs, making a generational impact,” said TS Bank, Director of Public Relations, Kelsey Stupfell. “It is a powerful way to help positively transform both neighborhoods and families.”

To help volunteer for a house project contact Turner Morgan at tmorgan@the712initiative.org. To learn more about the project stories, visit www.tsbank.com/ampand www.the712initiative.org/neighborhoods/amp-for-neighborhoods.

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