Photo Release -- The First, The Peoples Bank, and FHLB Dallas Announce $78K in Grants to Assist Mississippi Gulf Coast Residents With Home Repairs

BILOXI, Miss., June 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the past several years, 69-year-old William MaGee has been scared to walk across the bedroom floor in his Pascagoula, Mississippi, home. Damage to waterlines following Hurricane Katrina caused water to swell under the home, buckling the flooring.

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"Every time you walk through there you are just about sinking in," Mr. MaGee said.

Mr. MaGee will soon have his flooring replaced, thanks to a partnership of Hope Community Development Agency and two community banks – The First, A National Banking Association (The First) and The Peoples Bank. The banks are members of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), which allows them to utilize FHLB Dallas' Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) grants to assist income-qualified, special needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications.

Mr. MaGee, a retired police officer, and his wife Rosie, are among 17 families that will receive much-needed home repairs through the partnership. Hope CDA held a check presentation last week to announce more than $78,000 in SNAP grants from FHLB Dallas, The First, and The Peoples Bank to assist Gulf Coast families with their home repairs. Many of the recipients live in Biloxi, Gulfport, or other Gulf Coast cities.

"I want to thank the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas for this important grant program," said Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway. "Having affordable and livable housing continues to be an issue in Biloxi, particularly in east Biloxi, and the SNAP program helps the most vulnerable of our community."

Hope CDA is an organization that leverages resources to build capacity and develop viable, affordable, stable neighborhoods and unites partners to create vibrant and sustainable communities.

Many of the SNAP grant applicants, like the MaGees, are still recovering from damage suffered in Katrina. Roof leaks, flooring replacements, and replacement of doors and windows are among the repairs. One applicant will also receive a handicap-accessible ramp in the home.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity made available by our three partners that will allow Hope CDA to help families in our area recover from the after effects of Katrina and non-Katrina related damages to their homes," said Bill Stallworth, executive director of Hope CDA. "Funding for such projects has gone away and this is one of the few grant programs made available for many of these homeowners."

The First has been an active participant in SNAP, utilizing $132,874 in SNAP grants to assist families with their home repairs or modifications since 2012.

"It is very rewarding to see how the funds are used and how significantly these repairs and modifications impact the lives of the homeowners," said Jerome Brown, senior vice president and director of Community Development at The First. "We continue to use SNAP year after year because it truly changes the lives of the recipients for the better. FHLB Dallas has a suite of programs for banks to use that help provide homebuyer assistance, to construction and rehab. The First is proud to partner with agencies like Hope CDA to give back to our community and help these families that are in such need of assistance."

This is The Peoples Bank's first year participating in SNAP.

"The Peoples Bank has always been committed to providing products and services that meet the needs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast community," said Chevis Swetman, president and CEO of The Peoples Bank. "SNAP gives us another avenue to assist our communities with their needs – in this case helping families who have been unable to make much-needed home repairs. As a member of Hope CDA's board, I have seen first-hand the impact it has on the lives of our Gulf Coast residents. The Peoples Bank is truly honored to partner with Hope CDA and FHLB Dallas in meeting the needs of these homeowners."

Since SNAP's inception in 2009, more than $7.3 million in SNAP grants have been awarded through FHLB Dallas member institutions to assist more than 1,464 families. In 2014, FHLB Dallas awarded $1 million through members, which was quickly exhausted. Another $850,000 in SNAP funds will be made available through members beginning July 1.

"Since launching SNAP in 2009, it has been one of FHLB Dallas' most utilized programs," said Greg Hettrick, FHLB Dallas vice president and director of community investment. "We've recently announced an additional offering to assist our members in further meeting the housing repair and modification needs of their homeowners."

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $30.6 billion as of March 31, 2014, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

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