WACO, Texas, March 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For Waco homeowners Travis Cotton, 61, and his wife, Willie, 54, good news has been hard to find recently. Mr. Cotton has been bound to a wheelchair for years, but was also recently diagnosed with leukemia. His wife works hard as a nurse caring for the elderly, but finances are tight and the couple accepts each penny earned as a blessing.
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When the roof on their home began leaking, the couple was at a loss of what to do. Water dripped through the ceiling in the bathroom and front living area, but the Cottons did not have the money to fix the leak. One evening while watching the nightly news, the couple saw a story about a program through Waco Habitat for Humanity that helped qualified, special-needs homeowners with home repairs. Thinking it would be worth a try, they contacted Waco Habitat and asked about the program.
Waco Habitat partners with Extraco Banks to access Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). SNAP grants are issued through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Extraco Banks, on a first-come, first-served basis to assist with the rehabilitation costs of eligible special needs homeowners. SNAP was established in 2009 to address the home repair needs of homeowners, like Mr. and Mrs. Cotton, so that they can live safely in their homes.
Fortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Cotton qualified for a $2,107 SNAP grant that covered the expense of replacing their roof. It also paid for a new permanent ramp to the front door for Mr. Cotton to safely maneuver his wheel chair into the house. Previously, the couple had an old piece of plywood covering the stairs for Mr. Cotton to use, but it was not sturdy or safe.
"It's wonderful – I feel so fortunate," said Mr. Cotton when asked about the recent updates to his home. "I really can't believe it all worked out so well, and the new ramp and new roof really look great. Both improved the look of our home. We are so grateful to everyone who helped us."
Since 1986, Waco Habitat has built 150 new affordable homes in McLennan County and has served another 225 homeowners through its critical home repair program. Executive Director Brenda Shuttlesworth said nearly 30 percent of Waco residents are below the poverty level as defined by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Census, and approximately 20 percent of all homes within the Waco city limits were built in the 1950s. Ms. Shuttlesworth said that the organization has seen a recent influx of home repair applications because these homes are now requiring extensive repairs and updates to maintain sustainability for the homeowners.
"Waco Habitat is working hard alongside partners like FHLB Dallas and Extraco Banks to meet the needs of our applicants," said Ms. Shuttlesworth. "SNAP grants provide funds to help homeowners that otherwise could not afford to properly maintain their homes. We feel very fortunate that we are able to offer this option to our homeowners, and I am happy to say that SNAP helped Mr. and Mrs. Cotton with repairs they desperately needed and the couple will now have a safe place to call home once again."
Extraco Banks has been a longtime partner in Waco Habitat's efforts, and together the two entities have awarded $113,480 in SNAP grants since 2009.
"It is our job as a community bank to go beyond traditional banking services and help address the real needs of our community, however possible," said David Brennan, executive vice president at Extraco Banks. "Our ability to access SNAP through FHLB Dallas is an easy and resourceful option to providing funding that will improve our community as a whole. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home, and SNAP funds are helping to improve the living conditions of needy families each year."
Since its establishment in 2009, more than $7 million in SNAP grants have been awarded to assist 1,464 eligible homeowners throughout FHLB Dallas' five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. To learn more about SNAP and other FHLB Dallas programs, visit fhlb.com.
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 via AP PhotoExpress.
CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas