Vicksburg resident makes critical repairs thanks to grant

Vicksburg resident makes critical repairs thanks to grant

VICKSBURG, MS - This is a news release from FHLB 

Vicksburg resident Laura Jones was determined to save her home, but her ceiling was caving in and she was running out of options. A grant from the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) through member institution RiverHills Bank gave Ms. Jones the funds she needed to repair the roof and ceiling of her home.

The roof of Ms. Jones' home was damaged, and the ceilings of several rooms were beginning to cave in because of leaks. Retired, living alone, and on disability, Ms. Jones, 60, couldn't afford the repairs on her own.

"I've lived here for a long time, so this house is my own and when you have something of your own, you don't want it to fall apart," she said. "If it starts to go down, you have to find a way to fix it. I didn't have the money, but I wasn't going to let it fall."

She contacted the city of Vicksburg in the hopes of finding a program that could help her with the repairs, and she learned of SNAP.

Ms. Jones was the recipient of $4,930 worth of repair work funded by a SNAP grant from RiverHills Bank and FHLB Dallas. The city of Vicksburg partners with RiverHills Bank to administer SNAP funds to eligible residents.

The grant covered repairs to the roof, the repainting of exterior walls, and the repair of leaky ceilings in her kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, and front porch. Her front porch roof was in such disrepair, she said, it could probably double as an outdoor shower.

Ms. Jones' story is only one example of the impact SNAP grants make in the community. According to RiverHills Bank Senior Vice President David Blackledge, SNAP is a critical program for strengthening the community and lending a hand to its residents.

"We're a community bank, so we are members of this community ourselves," Mr. Blackledge said. "Any time we can help make a difference in someone's life, we're fulfilling our mission. It is our privilege to help Ms. Jones make these repairs and stay in her home."

FHLB Dallas First Vice President and Director of Community Investment Greg Hettrick said SNAP is one of FHLB Dallas' most popular affordable housing programs.

Since SNAP's inception in 2009, more than $10.6 million has been awarded in grants through FHLB Dallas member institutions to assist more than 2,000 families across FHLB Dallas' five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. In 2015, FHLB Dallas awarded nearly $1.5 million in SNAP grants that assisted 319 families. The 2016 SNAP funding, made available in January on a first-come, first-served basis, has been exhausted.

"In partnership with members such as RiverHills Bank, SNAP helps make a difference in the lives of people like Ms. Jones," Mr. Hettrick said. "We're grateful to RiverHills Bank for their commitment to serving the community of Vicksburg."

Ms. Jones is grateful for the change the repairs have made in her life.

"I couldn't even stay in my own bedroom," she said of her life before she received the grant. "I was scared to sleep in my bed because I thought the ceiling might fall down on me. Getting the grant changed everything for me."