The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies in Hattiesburg has received a $147,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) through its member institution, BankPlus. The organization says it will use the grant to help 14 local, low-income borrowers with disabilities get into a home through its "Home of Your Own" (HOYO) program.
HOYO is open to income-eligible people with developmental disabilities and mental illness, and their parents or legal guardians. The program offers a wide range of supports, including information on low-interest mortgages, as well as homeownership counseling and training programs. If you are interested in learning more about the HOYO program, contact the Office of Housing Initiatives and Supports at (518) 473-1973 or at Housing.Initiatives@OPWDD.ny.gov to request an information package and preliminary application.
"Homeownership gives people a greater sense of security and of belonging to a community," says Mark Ouellette, first vice president and director of affordable housing at BankPlus. "Through this initiative, we are able to give a hand-up to members of our society that need and deserve our help."
Heather Steele, associate coordinator of Housing Services at the Institute for Disability Studies, says the goal of the program is to help provide safe, decent, and affordable housing to families in Mississippi.
"We want families to achieve homeownership, but more importantly we want them to be able to maintain homeownership. That's why we provide individualized counseling on managing their money, understanding credit, and other steps in the home buying process to help applicants position themselves for homeownership," Ms. Steele says. "We want them to be able to maintain and sustain themselves for years to come. The FHLB Dallas grant provides the down payment or closing costs to help make the house payment more affordable."
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 $37.5 billion as of September 30, 2014, 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.
The HOYO program has received numerous accolades for its success in working with the special-needs population.
Since 1997, the HOYO program has assisted 565 individuals and their families living in 64 Mississippi counties in becoming homeowners. In 2010, the HOYO program received its third Governors Community Project of Excellence Award for Best Homebuyer Assistance Award.
"Maximum impact," explains FHLB Dallas Vice President and Director of Community Investment Greg Hettrick, "is what we strive to attain with our grant programs. The needs in our communities are great, and when we cooperate and collaborate, we have a greater opportunity to effect change."
BankPlus, with total assets of more than $2.4 billion, has more than 60 banking offices in 33 Mississippi communities. BankPlus offices are located in Belzoni, Bentonia, Brandon, Byram, Canton, Clinton, D'Iberville, Durant, Flora, Flowood, Gluckstadt, Hernando, Holly Bluff, Horn Lake, Isola, Jackson, Lexington, Madison, Meridian, Newton, Olive Branch, Pearl, Picayune, Pickens, Poplarville, Quitman, Ridgeland, Shubuta, Southaven, Stonewall, Tchula, Waynesboro and Yazoo City. For additional information on BankPlus, please visit www.BankPlus.net