LAS CRUCES, N.M., July 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Anais Muñoz really wanted to buy a home. She and her three children, ages 8, 3, and 1, had outgrown the manufactured home she was renting from her parents. But when a friend told her she should contact Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity, she reached out to the organization, but had little hope she would be selected as a partner family.
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"I was living in a trailer. It was really small for my kids, and it was getting a little cluttered -- the bedrooms were very small," Ms. Muñoz said. "I was having trouble finding a place, and a friend told me to go to Habitat. I applied for the Habitat program and a couple of months later they told me I was chosen, so I was pretty excited."
Even more exciting for Ms. Muñoz was learning she could receive assistance with her down payment and closing costs through a partnership Mesilla Valley Habitat has with Pioneer Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).
Pioneer Bank uses FHLB Dallas's Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grants, which are offered through FHLB Dallas members, such as Pioneer Bank, to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs on newly constructed or existing homes.
Ms. Muñoz qualified for a $4,000 HELP grant, and in April she moved into the ideal home for her family – a three bedroom with two full baths.
"It's perfect. It's in a good neighborhood, in a cul de sac so I don't have to worry about my kids being run over in traffic," she said. "My kids enjoy it a lot, and I'm doing something for my kids, so they will have something for the future."
Marie Schwartz, development officer at Mesilla Valley Habitat, couldn't agree more.
"Research does show children of homeowners are more likely to graduate from high school, have less teen pregnancy, fewer behavioral problems, a reduction in domestic violence, and a whole list of factors that show how beneficial it is for families to become homeowners," Ms. Schwartz said. "Shelter is one of the basic human needs. If you don't have shelter it's difficult to pursue other things. We really value Pioneer Bank's and FHLB Dallas's support because it helps our families tremendously."
In 2013, FHLB Dallas has awarded $16,000 in HELP grants through Pioneer Bank to assist four families with their down payments and closing costs.
"As bankers, we know what a struggle it can be for families with a modest income to make that leap to homeownership," said Dawson Dinsmore, vice president at Pioneer Bank. "Through our partnership with Mesilla Valley Habitat and the HELP program, we have been able to assist four families in making that transition a little easier. Pioneer Bank believes in giving back to the community and what better way to do that than to help someone achieve the dream of homeownership."
Ms. Muñoz and her family are enjoying their new home. The family dog – a Terrier mix named Penny – now has plenty of space to run in the yard, and they are settling in nicely. Qualifying for the HELP grant has helped mitigate some of the stress involved with buying a home.
"I needed to buy furniture – I didn't have any furniture at all. I was able to spend a little more money on supplies for the yard, my kids' bedroom, and everything else," Ms. Muñoz said. "I am very thankful that I had this opportunity and was able to get help from the grant."
HELP grants are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Pioneer Bank, to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs on newly constructed or existing homes. For 2013, FHLB Dallas made $1 million in HELP funds available to its members on a first-come, first-served basis.
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 advances 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