NATCHEZ, Miss., May 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta Perkins has always been the independent type. When her husband died in 1954, she was one-month pregnant with their fourth child. But she managed her money the best she knew how and put two of her four children through college – two children passed away – and raised one of her grandchildren.
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"I'd only been married eight years when the Lord called my husband home, and I've been fighting for myself ever since," said Ms. Perkins, who is 88.
But one thing Ms. Perkins couldn't do for herself was repair the rotten wood on her 50-plus-year-old home. She called various volunteer services to try to get help, but there were always too many people ahead of her.
Finally, she called Natchez City Hall, where a staff member told her about a repair program offered through the city of Natchez, Mississippi. The city partnered with Britton & Koontz Bank to utilize Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) grant funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). SNAP grants are available through FHLB Dallas members, such as Britton & Koontz Bank, on a first-come, first-served basis to assist income-qualified, special-needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications.
Ms. Perkins received a $5,700 SNAP grant, and with an additional $350 from Britton and Koontz, she was awarded a total of $6,050 in grant funds to replace the rotten wood on her home, repair the siding and floor joist, and do a small amount of electrical work.
"The SNAP program for the benefit of Ms. Perkins and others became a 'snap' because of a great partnership," said Britton & Koontz Bank President Page Ogden. "The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, local B&K bankers and Natchez officials saw an opportunity to make the local community better and they quickly moved on the project."
When her repairs were finished in March 2013, Ms. Perkins said she sat down and cried.
"I had so many rotten places on the outside. The seals under the house were rotten; a lot of the boards on the side of the house were rotten. Termites were in the wood. I didn't know it was as bad as it was," Ms. Perkins said. "My home is old. I had it built in the 1960s. I put a new roof on it, but the little money I was drawing from Social Security wasn't enough to take care of all of the other repairs. I really appreciate what they did to fix the home. I'm really glad to get my home repaired."
James Johnston, city of Natchez community development director, said the city got involved with SNAP last year and looked for low-income homeowners in its community that needed help with home repairs. Mr. Johnston worked through several aldermen on the city's Board of Aldermen to find worthy recipients, such as residents like Ms. Perkins. In 2013, the city has assisted 19 individuals with SNAP grants. The partnership with FHLB Dallas and Britton & Koontz is one the city would like to continue next year.
Mayor Butch Brown, in his third term as mayor, encouraged Britton & Koontz Bank to participate in SNAP and expressed his appreciation of the hard work put forth by both bank staff and city employees to make this first-time program successful. "Any time you try and undertake a program for the first time, there is bound to be a few bumps in the road. Fortunately there were few bumps because of the time and effort put forth by all parties involved," Mayor Brown said.
SNAP was established in 2009 and, through its member institutions, FHLB Dallas has provided more than $6 million in SNAP grant funds -- including $1 million in 2013 -- to assist 1,260 eligible 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 $31 billion as of March 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