HATTIESBURG, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eleven residents from Florida and Louisiana recently purchased a first home through Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) thanks in part to a Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) subsidy from The First, A National Banking Association (The First) based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).
Seven residents were from Florida, with four from Pensacola and three from Tallahassee. The other homebuyers assisted by Habitat were from the Louisiana cities of Abita Springs, Covington, Mandeville and Slidell. Each received a $5,500 HELP subsidy and used the funds toward down payments.
HELP, provided by FHLB Dallas through member institutions such as The First, assists income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance and closing costs.
All the homeowners worked with their local Habitat affiliates, which support affordable homeownership through educational and volunteer resources for low-income families.
In total, The First’s and FHLB Dallas’ partnership provided $60,500 to these 11 homeowners through Habitat.
One of the homebuyers, Bambi Spinks, a mother of two from Abita Springs, said she was living in a mobile home when she applied for the grant. She never thought she could afford to buy a house.
“It feels very good to know that my children and I are living in a healthy environment,” she said.
Crystal Scott, director of resource development at Pensacola Habitat, which assisted the Pensacola homeowners, said the HELP subsidy creates a huge impact for its homeowners.
“The program helps our community in so many different ways,” Ms. Scott said. “Some people have reached a point where they are ready to take on homeownership but don’t necessarily have the right tools, education, a down payment or a good credit score to achieve their dream.”
Michele Lynch, assistant vice president, community development officer at The First, which has disbursed $117,000 in HELP subsidies so far this year, said she values the program as it helps long-time renters become homeowners.
“The First has been able to help many first-time homebuyers throughout our partnership with FHLB Dallas thanks to HELP,” Ms. Lynch said. “The First has leveraged several FHLB Dallas programs in the past to assist our communities. Our partnership is twofold as we are able to invest in our community while making homeownership attainable for many of the customers we serve.”
Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, notes the importance of this financial assistance.
“Purchasing a home is such a meaningful accomplishment for many,” said Mr. Hettrick. “We are honored to work with The First to open new doors for these new homeowners.”
Ms. Scott added that helping renters become homebuyers is life changing.
“Handing over the keys after closing and knowing the impact this will have on their lives is amazing,” she said. “HELP has been beneficial for so many in our community.”
About The First Bancshares Inc.
The First Bancshares, Inc., headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the parent company of The First, A National Banking Association. Founded in 1996 near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The First has grown rapidly through South Mississippi, South Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia providing services competitive to those found at larger regional banks. The company’s stock is traded on Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol FBMS. Information is available on the company’s website www.TheFirstBank.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 $58.6 billion as of June 30, 2021, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 800 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit our website at fhlb.com.