RUSSELLVILLE, Ark., Oct. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A $69,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and member institution Simmons First National Bank will help 10 very low-income families afford new homes through the Universal Development Housing Corporation (UHDC). The AHP funds will be used for down-payment and closing-cost assistance for participants in the Mutual Self-Help Program.
UHDC's Mutual Self-Help Program enables families to help build each other's homes. They keep costs low by providing 'sweat equity' while working under the guidance of a construction supervisor.
"The Affordable Housing Program from FHLB Dallas helps fill in the gaps for very low-income homebuyers," said Martie North, director of CRA and Community Development at Simmons First National Bank. "If you saw some of the conditions these families are living in, you'd see how transformational the new homes are for them. The AHP helps make it possible."
FHLB Dallas annually returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants to the communities served by its member institutions. AHP grants fund a variety of projects, including home rehabilitation and modifications for low-income, elderly, and special-needs residents; down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified first-time homebuyers; and the construction of low-income, multifamily rental communities and single-family homes.
Bill Tucker, director of the UHDC's Mutual Self-Help Program, acknowledged the community dedication of Simmons First National Bank to their mission. "There's a real desire to help people at Simmons First," Mr. Tucker said. "They do everything they can to help us succeed, and they seem to be as excited as we are when we are awarded a grant or complete a rehab."
FHLB Dallas, in partnership with its member financial institutions, has awarded more than $7.4 million in AHP grants this year to 32 projects, primarily within its five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.
"There is a shortage of quality, affordable housing in this part of the state," Ms. North said. "UHDC buys raw acreage and installs the infrastructure needed. It is a very intensive process. They also handle home rehab and homebuyer counseling."
Mr. Tucker said UHDC has worked since its establishment in 1971 under the motto 'Helping People, Building Dreams.' But even with the sweat equity, closing costs can be the deal-breaker.
"Wages haven't kept up with the rising cost of home construction," Mr. Tucker explained. "After the recession, many low-income clients are actually making less than they were before. At the same time, rental rates have increased, so that these same clients may be paying more for rent than they would for a home mortgage. The problem is often affording the up-front costs and qualifying for the loan."
Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, said FHLB Dallas is pleased to give back to communities across its District.
"FHLB Dallas is honored to provide project-critical resources for UHDC families through Simmons First National Bank, said Mr. Hettrick. "As a member-owned cooperative, FHLB Dallas works to serve the needs of our members and their communities."
July 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the AHP. Since the program's inception, FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $237 million in AHP and AHP-funded grants to help more than 44,000 families obtain affordable, quality housing.
About Simmons First National Bank
Simmons First National Corp. is a financial holding company headquartered in Pine Bluff, Ark., with total assets of almost $7.6 billion. The company conducts financial operations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The company's wholly owned subsidiary, Simmons First National Bank, offers comprehensive financial solutions delivered with a client-centric approach. The company's common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "SFNC."
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $42.6 billion as of June 30, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas