FORT SMITH, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Representatives from First National Bank of Fort Smith (FNB Fort Smith) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) today celebrated the grand opening of a new 85-bed homeless shelter in Fort Smith, Arkansas, serving up to 105 people at a time. Riverview Hope Campus First Step was funded, in part, by a $500,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from FHLB Dallas and member institution FNB Fort Smith.
After remarks from Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanderson and project representatives, attendees were invited to tour the 127,000-square-foot building.
The AHP grant was awarded to the Old Fort Housing Coalition (Coalition) in 2015 to help renovate the building, which was previously used as a furniture manufacturing plant. The grant funded the first phase of the $4 million project, which involved the remodeling of approximately 30,000 square feet. Additional funding for the project came from Community Development Block, Arkansas Development Finance Authority, the JE and LE Mabee Foundation, the State Department of Health and Human Services, the Sturgess Family Foundation, Walton Family Foundation and other sources of local support.
Mitch Minnick, executive director of Fort Smith Housing Authority and Coalition secretary, said the AHP grant was the first major grant that Coalition received for this project.
“The $500,000 from FHLB Dallas and First National Bank of Fort Smith helped kick off the renovation project,” said Mr. Minnick. “Without the grant, I’m not sure the project would have happened.”
The shelter, which opened last month, was fully occupied within four days of opening. It serves homeless residents and people who have been recently displaced from their homes.
“There is a great need for the services Riverview Hope Campus provides,” said FNB Fort Smith President and CEO Samuel T. Sicard. “This effort will significantly improve chances of the Fort Smith homeless population moving out of homelessness into productive lives, and we are thankful for the partnership with FHLB Dallas.”
In addition to the beds, the Riverview Hope Campus includes showers, bathrooms, a kitchen, dining area, outdoor gathering spaces, library, a medical facility staffed by a local hospital and room for other organizations to provide services, all under one roof.
The annual AHP grants assist in the creation or rehabilitation of affordable, owner-occupied, rental, and temporary housing for very low- to moderate-income households located across FHLB Dallas’ five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. In 2017, FHLB Dallas awarded $7 million in AHP grants to 19 projects that will result in 1,108 new or renovated housing units. Visit fhlb.com for more information on the 2017 AHP awards.
“By awarding AHP grant funds to shelters such as Hope Campus, FNB Fort Smith is making life easier for homeless and displaced people in the community,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. “Their commitment to the community is admirable and we are thankful for their partnership.”
About First National Bank of Fort Smith
The First National Bank of Fort Smith was organized February 29, 1872, as “The National Bank of Western Arkansas.” A charter was issued by the Comptroller of the Currency, authorizing the bank to commence business on March 22, 1872. Today, the First National Bank of Fort Smith has 13 locations in the River Valley, five locations in Northwest Arkansas and three locations in Eastern Oklahoma. In addition, customers are offered the convenience of banking at any of the six Citizens Bank & Trust locations in Crawford County. Through First Bank Corporation, we offer our customers the availability of 30 ATMs and 27 bank locations in the River Valley, Northwest Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. With the addition of Brown-Hiller-Clark in 2002, we offer our customers a complete array of financial services including banking, insurance, trust, and investments services throughout the Arkansas River Valley, Northwest Arkansas, and Eastern Oklahoma.
About the Old Fort Homeless Coalition
The Old Fort Homeless Coalition (OFHC) was formed in 2007 to serve the homeless and low-income citizens of Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Polk, Scott, and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas. Today, OFHC is a coalition of 30 service providers working together to ensure urgent needs are met while reducing the risk of duplication of services.
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 development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 850 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.