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The 712 Initiative has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Council Bluffs and TS Bank to create the AMP for Neighborhoods program that helps improve Council Bluffs neighborhoods by aiding those with much needed exterior home improvements. AMP focuses on direct homeowner projects and neighborhood block initiatives.

Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, the program will continue for 2022. In addition to the donated funds, the program has been successful in leveraging donations for labor and materials from small businesses wanting to get involved, including tree trimming, roofing, etc. Local contractors also received a boost from the AMP for neighborhoods program, as several timely projects helped sustain typical year-end lull times for construction companies.

Each year, individuals are encouraged to nominate themselves or a neighbor with exterior home repairs or improvement needs. Project requests can range from painting, fencing, siding, driveways, sidewalks, windows, roofing, exterior doors and landscaping. AMP Brandy CB

In its inaugural year, over 50 applications were received in the Council Bluffs area and a total of 33 projects were selected including 31 homeowners, one neighborhood association and one request for a community wide dumpster day to be held this spring.

The AMP program assistance was greatly appreciated by local homeowners who have experienced various hardships the last several years.

Nominated by a neighbor, Brandy VanRiessen is a working, single mom of three children. Between her family responsibilities and home maintenance needs, it was challenging to find time for home improvement projects and yardwork. Brandy had originally started single-handedly disassembling her deck but the projected stalled. With the financial boost from AMP, plus some additional hours from herself and volunteers, her back deck is now rebuilt and safe.

“This deck project has been the biggest blessing to me and my kids. I am so thankful,” said Brandy Van Riessen. “My old deck was crumbling and unsafe for my kids. Now, we are able to have family dinners, dance parties and neighbor kids come play. This will definitely have a huge generational impact on my family and our neighbor friends.”

Van Riessen continued, “Everyone involved in this program was amazing to work with, professional and caring to myself and my kids. They involved us in the process, so making the deck became a memory we will have forever. Having the deck built on a foundation with Bible verses and handprints of my kids makes this deck so special to our family. The blessing of this will allow my family to create lifelong memories together as my children grow and overwhelmed with gratitude.”

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The 2022 application process is now closed and will reopen in May 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact Cieandra Tripp at or 712.396.2472.

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