NATCHEZ, Miss., May 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For nearly 50 years, Thelma T. White educated elementary school children in Natchez, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Now, at 90, she hasn't slowed down. Ms. White recently obtained a state historical designation for an African-American cemetery in Natchez known informally as the Watkins Street Cemetery. She said she's also finalizing the formation of a nonprofit organization that will oversee fundraising for major repairs at the cemetery, which dates to 1909.
Ms. White occupies a family home in the Woodlawn National Historic District. It's a home she's lived in off-and-on for much of her life. But with her advanced age and fixed income, keeping up with repairs has been challenging.
Ms. White said she read about the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) grant in the local paper and decided to apply. The city of Natchez partners with Concordia Bank & Trust, which utilizes Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) SNAP grants to provide necessary home repairs and modifications for special-needs homeowners. A $4,250 SNAP grant from Concordia Bank & Trust and FHLB Dallas allowed Ms. White to have her front porch replaced and a downspout and gutter installed.
"I'm a retired teacher. I'm 90, and I didn't want to get into any more debt," she said. Getting the repairs done without cost to her "felt wonderful," she said.
Ms. White enjoys her house and new porch in the company of her dog, Foxy -- named for her resemblance to a real fox.
Odis Dunn, owner of Dunn Construction in Natchez, did renovations on eight SNAP grant homes in Natchez, including the White residence.
The opportunity to help others was gratifying, he said. City of Natchez Community Development Director James Johnston and bank partner Concordia Bank & Trust were very helpful in the administration of the program, Mr. Dunn added.
"Mr. Johnston was instrumental in getting the program going and getting it together so that everyone would know what to do. Concordia Bank really made it run smoothly," he said.
Glynn Laird, senior vice president at Concordia Bank & Trust, said SNAP is an important community outreach tool.
"We are happy to hear about all the good experiences that residents had with SNAP and are thankful for the opportunity to help citizens of the city of Natchez with needed home repairs," Mr. Laird said.
FHLB Dallas has awarded $46,845 through Concordia Bank & Trust to assist 10 homeowners so far in 2013.
SNAP grants are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Concordia Bank & Trust, on a first-come, first-served basis to assist income-qualified, special needs homeowners with emergency home repairs and modifications. The program was established in 2009 and, through its member institutions, FHLB Dallas has provided more than $6 million in SNAP grant funds to 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.
CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas