NATCHEZ, Miss., July 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Naomi Hall's home is special in several respects.
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It holds memories for her because it's the home where her grandparents lived — the place where her father grew up.
"We used to come here every year for Christmas," she recalled. "It holds a lot of memories."
That's not the only thing special about the home Hall has lived in since 1992. It's also the childhood home of famous Natchez author Richard Wright (1908-1960). A historic marker commemorates the home and people occasionally stop by to read and photograph the marker and the exterior of the home, Mrs. Hall said.
Wright, the grandson of a slave, published his first story at age 15, "The Voodoo of Hell's Half-Acre," in a Mississippi African-American newspaper. His book "Native Son" was turned into a Broadway play directed by Orson Welles in 1941.
But the home was in need of a new roof. "I knew I had a leaky roof and I didn't have the finances to fix it, and I heard of this program to help the elderly so I called and asked about it," Hall said.
The program that Mrs. Hall heard about was the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP). It is offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) through its member institutions. The program provides grants to assist income-qualified, special needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications.
"My daughter went by the city and got an application. She said they can say yes or they can say no. There's no harm in applying," Mrs. Hall said.
The city said yes, and Mrs. Hall received a $5,700 SNAP grant from FHLB Dallas and member institution, Home Bank. In addition, Home Bank provided an additional $350 toward repairs. "It was a really good feeling to find out they would help me," she said.
Mrs. Hall, 79, said her husband, who died several years ago, had read a number of Wright's books and said it feels good to know the historic home has received much-needed repairs.
Mrs. Hall believes her leaky roof might have been the same roof that was on the house when she visited her grandparents as a child. It was leaking in multiple rooms, she said.
"It means everything," Mrs. Hall said of having a new roof on the historic Natchez, Mississippi home. "I can sleep in peace. I don't have to worry about rain coming in on me. With my husband not being alive, I didn't have a way to get it fixed. He used to try to do all the maintenance around the house."
Deanna W. Bowser, Home Bank's Mississippi market president, said the bank is glad it could help Mrs. Hall repair her home.
"This program truly reaches out to Natchez residents in need, and we are pleased to be a part of it," Ms. Bowser said.
Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said SNAP has given hope and peace of mind to residents needing repairs that are beyond their financial abilities. Often this involves senior citizens on fixed incomes.
"The city of Natchez has been involved in helping our citizens through the SNAP application process for several years now and has assisted 40 homeowners because we've seen the good it does in helping those in need, especially our elderly, disabled and those on fixed incomes," Brown said.
Since SNAP's inception in 2009, more than $7.3 million in grants have been awarded through FHLB Dallas member institutions to assist 1,464 families 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 Home Bank
Home Bank is a federally chartered, community-oriented savings bank which was originally organized in 1908 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana. Home Bank currently conducts business from 22 full-service banking locations in the Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Northshore (of Lake Ponchartrain) regions of South Louisiana. The bank acquired Natchez-based Britton & Koontz Bank last year.
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 fhlb.com.
The photos are 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