NPR Story
9:43 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Shreveport nonprofit gets two coveted housing grants

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas has awarded 36 affordable housing grants in its service district -- Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and New Mexico -- that will assist in creating more than 1,600 new or remodeled homes. One nonprofit in Shreveport, Holy Angels, will be able to start on two remodeling projects this fall. A group home and a dormitory will be refurbished for its residents who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. Holy Angels received $441,000 in all. CEO Laurie Boswell said the grants will be used in part to make bathrooms handicap accessible.

“Many of our residents were not expected to live past five years old, and today they’re here with us 60-plus years of age. It’s very important that we’re able to provide a place for them to age in their home," Boswell said.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits each year in the form of grants that go toward affordable housing projects. Greg Hettrick, the bank’s director of community investment, said the bank awarded $11.3 million in grants this year, and the selection process was highly competitive.

“Demand for the program was about two-and-half times more than what we had to allocate this past year. It’s typically between two and three times oversubscribed each year," Hettrick said.

Boswell said Holy Angels spends about a year compiling its grant materials with support from its sponsor, Red River Bank, and several months writing the proposal. It also received a grant in 2010. She finds the grants are a springboard for raising additional dollars to complete capital projects.

“This provides us with leverage where we can say to other potential donors we have a commitment from Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and they know we’re vetted," Boswell said.

This year, Louisiana received 10 of the 36 grants. Projects were also awarded in Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Springhill, La., and Camden, Ark.


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