TUPELO, Miss., June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE: BXS), a $13.2 billion asset financial holding company, announced that BancorpSouth Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary, has recently funded two projects in the Shreveport area in conjunction with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) by awarding $4,610 in Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) grants. SNAP is a rehabilitative program that provides grant funds to assist income-qualified, special needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications.
BancorpSouth partnered with the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana, a non-profit organization already serving the special needs public. The Fuller Center's mission is to eliminate substandard housing and lift up the owner-occupied homes through much-needed, quality of life rehabs in Northwest Louisiana.
"We like partnering with a non-profit organization for this type of grant," said Tracey Graham of Shreveport, BancorpSouth Assistant Vice President. "The Fuller Center provides counseling and other services that we might not be able to provide as a financial institution. Together, we offer a complete package."
The two residents who received the SNAP grants are low-income, below-the-poverty level, residents who do not have other resources for making critical home repairs, said Lee Jeter of Shreveport, Executive Director of the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana.
"The homeowners are very appreciative of the work that we are able to accomplish through the SNAP program," Jeter said.
In 2010, FHLB Dallas set aside $1.5 million for SNAP, a rehabilitation program available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, like BancorpSouth, that provide grant funds to assist income-qualified, special needs homeowners with necessary home repairs and modifications. Each SNAP recipient is eligible to receive up to $5,000. If a participating member financial institution such as BancorpSouth contributes at least $350 toward costs associated with the rehabilitation, the homeowner is eligible to receive up to $7,000 in grant funds.
Spotlighting the Two Residents Who Were Helped
Those receiving the SNAP grants were Janie Smith, 84 years old, of Shreveport and Lee Morris of Bossier City, a 43-year old male on disability.
Smith's situation was critical. She has two sons, both with special needs, who live with her. To make ends meet, Smith still works odd jobs. This past winter Northwest Louisiana had an unusually cold winter season. The only source of heating in her home was an old, dilapidated and unsafe gas stove. Through the SNAP renovation grant, Smith's home received a new heating unit, long-time termite problems were eliminated and some rotted exterior wood was replaced; her home's windows were weatherized; a dryer vent was added to her dryer; and her front door steps were replaced with hand rails added.
"This has been such a blessing for me. I asked them to do whatever they could. We are so appreciative," Smith said.
Lee Morris, meanwhile, is a male divorcee with a middle school-aged daughter who lives with him. The commode, tub and faucet in his bathroom kept backing up; the problem existed for over a year. He kept trying to fix it, but his work seemed to make the problem even worse. His daughter was spending time away from the house, going to her grandmother's, because the bathroom conditions were unsanitary.
The SNAP grant took care of repairing his plumbing problems; his home is now sanitary and his daughter has been reunited with her father.
"I'm so glad to have my daughter back home with me and have a working bathroom. It has increased our quality of life," Morris said.
"This is grassroots help, assisting those who otherwise could not help themselves," Jeter said.
Jeter said BancorpSouth is the Fuller Center's bank and he was unaware of the SNAP grants until his banker told him.
"BancorpSouth has become an extension of us and us of them. It's a wonderful partnership, a perfect match and it is all about helping others. It's just the right thing to do," Jeter concluded.
BancorpSouth, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, with approximately $13.2 billion in assets. BancorpSouth Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BancorpSouth, Inc., operates approximately 314 commercial banking, mortgage, insurance, trust and broker/dealer locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. BancorpSouth Bank also operates an insurance location in Illinois. BancorpSouth's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BXS.
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 $58.7 billion as of March 31, 2010, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas web site at fhlb.com.
For more information about FHLB Dallas programs, please contact the Corporate Communications Department at 214.441.8445.
SOURCE BancorpSouth, Inc.