WACO, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nathasha Crawford grew up bouncing from apartment to apartment in Chicago. As her son began to grow up with the sounds of gunshots in the distance, she knew a change was needed.
Ms. Crawford moved to Waco about six years ago to provide a safer atmosphere for her son, now 15, to grow up away from the pressures of street gangs.
“I had a rough life in Chicago because of the choices I had made and things I had done,” she said. “I had made my life hard, and I didn’t want that on my son. I didn’t want him to have the pressures that I did.”
In 2014, Ms. Crawford was pregnant with twins, and she and her son were living with her mom and a sister as she cleaned up her credit in the hopes of becoming a future homeowner. Soon, the household included infant twin girls, and life became cramped and stressful. The American Dream seemed out of reach.
That was until she met a couple who regularly ate at the restaurant where she works as a waitress. The woman asked Ms. Crawford if she was familiar with Waco Habitat for Humanity (Habitat). Then she came back and asked her about it a second time. Then, another acquaintance brought it up. Finally, her mother came home carrying a business card from Habitat. Ms. Crawford took it as a divine sign.
“If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is,” she said. “I’m big on God giving you signs. If he wants you somewhere, he’s going to keep pushing it.”
Ms. Crawford gathered her documents, applied and was quickly approved. She helped build two Habitat homes before building her own, putting in the required sweat equity that Waco Habitat for Humanity requires. She learned about the Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant program through Habitat. The $4,000 HELP grant, provided by Extraco Banks and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), gave Ms. Crawford the necessary capital for closing costs on her new three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
HELP grants are offered by FHLB Dallas through its member financial institutions, like Extraco Banks, to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs on new or existing homes.
Waco Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Brenda Shuttlesworth said the HELP grant program is a natural accompaniment to the Habitat program.
“The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to help provide a safe, decent and affordable home to families in need,” said Ms. Shuttlesworth. “By assisting families with down payments and closing costs, financial institutions such as FHLB Dallas and Extraco Banks support that mission through HELP.”
Extraco Banks’ President of the North Region Mark Reynolds said it just doesn’t get much better than helping first-time homeowners find a firm foundation for their families with the American Dream of homeownership.
“We were so happy to be able to help Ms. Crawford achieve her dream through the HELP grant,” Mr. Reynolds said. “HELP is a great program that provides value to our customers and community.”
Since the program’s inception in 2002, HELP grants totaling more than $17.2 million have assisted more than 3,300 families. For 2017, FHLB Dallas made $1 million available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visit fhlb.com/help to view current availability of HELP funds.
“Aside from helping individual families, HELP also acts as a powerful community investment tool because the first-time homebuyers it assists are making long-term commitments to their cities and towns,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas.
Ms. Crawford said homeownership has changed her life.
“I put the kids to sleep and I walk around the house and the yard and say, ‘Wow. I can’t believe I’m a homeowner.’ This is where my kids are going to grow up and 10 to 20 years from now they will look at it and remember all the memories we made here,” she said.
About Extraco Banks®
Extraco Banks® celebrated 115 years and three generations of family management on July 12th, 2017. Founded as a cotton warehousing company, Extraco is the largest and most comprehensive independent financial institution headquartered in central Texas with $1.4 billion in assets, $150 million in capital and reserves, and over 145,000 customers. Extraco’s 15 financial centers are located in Bryan/College Station, Georgetown, Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Waco, Temple, Belton, Gatesville, Hamilton, and McGregor. https://www.extracobanks.com/
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $62.9 billion as of June 30, 2017, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 850 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.