GRANBURY, Texas, March 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Julian Martinez Cabrera, his wife and his daughter were inside his parents' home when the May 15, 2013, tornado hit.
A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=24127
Mr. Martinez had just arrived home from work and heard the sirens and news reports to take cover. His family and his mother took refuge in a bathroom, and Mr. Martinez covered them with mattresses. Moments later they heard the telltale sound of a loud train.
"It was really fast," he said, recalling that day. "Afterward, I came out of the house, and there was debris all over the place and people crying and yelling for help. The police told us that we had to get out because there was a gas leak."
The Martinez family was OK, but his parents' home, where he and his family had been living, sustained damage that required them to find other living arrangements. Thus began a few weeks of staying with friends and relatives until they were able to get into a rental home.
For the next three months, Mr. Martinez helped his parents repair their home. It was during that time that he learned of an opportunity through Habitat for Humanity of Hood County to buy his own home.
Mr. Martinez had wanted to have his own home, but upon return in 2010 from service in Kuwait and Iraq through the Navy Reserves, he found it hard to find a job that paid enough to afford the American Dream. He works on the maintenance crew at a Granbury golf course and left the Navy Reserves in 2012.
"I went to the banks and talked to them and most of them were asking for at least a $10,000 down payment, which I didn't have," he said.
That's when, like his parents, he pursued homeownership through Habitat for Humanity. He applied to the program and was accepted. Mr. Martinez put in 300 hours of sweat equity to earn an interest-free mortgage that only costs him $329 a month for his 1,175-square-foot-home — much more affordable than the $600 per month he was paying in rent.
Mr. Martinez, 26, and his wife, Cristina, and their two daughters, 4 years old and 6 months old, moved into the home on Thanksgiving Day 2013.
"It has three bedrooms, one bathroom. The bathroom is tornado-proof with steel walls. It's got all the appliances and a nice backyard," Mr. Martinez said. "It's just two minutes away from my parents' house."
A $4,000 Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant, provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and member institution Community Bank, helped reduce the principal on the home.
Mr. Martinez said the grant "provided peace of mind" to know that the house would be affordable. "A big thank you to the Federal Home Loan Bank, Community Bank and Habitat for helping us out."
Habitat for Humanity of Hood County told Mr. Martinez about the grant and assisted him in the application process.
"The HELP grant is one of the only grants we use for building our homes because it goes directly to the families to pay down on their principal," said Carol Davidson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Hood County. "It makes housing affordable for them, which means their whole lifestyle can change to some degree."
Since 1990, FHLB Dallas has made more than $14 million in HELP grants available to assist more than 2,700 households. For 2013, FHLB Dallas has made $1 million in HELP funds available through its members to assist income-qualified families with their down payments and closing costs.
Community Bank's Tina Rose, vice president/CRA and compliance officer, said the HELP grant has gone a long way in Granbury to provide sustainable housing options.
"HELP grants have allowed residents such as the Martinez family to achieve the American Dream," she said. "Affordable homeownership not only benefits the family buying their first home, but it benefits our community as a whole because homeowners have a greater stake in the community. We are pleased to be a part of such a positive and impactful program."
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 $30.2 billion as of December 31, 2013, 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 fhlb.com.
The photo is also available va AP PhotoExpress.
CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas