BAY ST. LOUIS, MISSISSIPPI, October 8, 2015 – Virginia Fricke, 74, has raised and cared for generations of her family in Bay St. Louis: five girls, seven grandsons, five granddaughters, 15 great-grandsons, and four great-granddaughters. Her home, rebuilt in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, stands on the same property where she has lived for more than half a century.However, with a fixed income, Ms. Fricke could not afford critical home repairs made necessary by nine years of the coastal climate. Through a friend, she learned about the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and member institution The First, A National Banking Association. SNAP grants are offered on a first-come, first-served basis to fund necessary home repairs and modifications for income-qualified, special-needs homeowners.
The Hancock Resource Center (HRC) in Waveland, Mississippi, served as a liaison, helping Ms. Fricke with her SNAP application and submitting it to The First on her behalf. The HRC serves Hancock County with home repairs and rehabilitation, community development, and housing counseling.
"SNAP grants are a much-needed asset to our community," said Jane Stock, HRC construction coordinator. "This year alone, eight families have been approved for SNAP grants that will pay for needed repairs. Our office has helped nearly 20 residents. We feel very fortunate for the SNAP grants that help income-qualified, disabled, and/or elderly residents."
C. Jerome Brown, senior vice president and director of Community Investment at The First, A National Banking Association, echoed Ms. Stock's sentiments.
"FHLB Dallas and the Hancock Resource Center are valuable partners to us," Mr. Brown said. "Their solid commitments allow The First to fund critical repairs that otherwise, might not be completed."
Ms. Fricke was awarded a $5,000 SNAP grant that paid to rebuild an air-conditioning platform and have new fascia and vinyl siding installed on parts of her home.
"I sure appreciate all you've done," Ms. Fricke said. "I don't know what I would have done without the SNAP grant."
In 2015, FHLB Dallas made $1.5 million in SNAP grants available in two rounds. The first $750,000, offered in January, was snapped up in 11 days. The second offering of $750,000 was exhausted in less than four hours when it became available on August 3.
"Talking with our members, we learned of a real need for this type of financial support in our District" said Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "We are honored to be able to provide SNAP funding through our members and help them support their communities."
Since SNAP's inception in 2009, nearly $9.2 million has been awarded in grants through member institutions to assist 1,846 families across FHLB Dallas' five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. In the first half of 2015, Mississippi was awarded more than $167,000 in SNAP grants that assisted 35 families.