Oxford’s Bank of Commerce, a Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB) member, has partnered with the Lafayette, Oxford and University Home Ownership Management Enterprise (LOU-HOME, Inc.), a local nonprofit, to expand access to financial counseling programs by way of an FHLB Partnership Grant.
The mission of LOU-HOME, Inc., is first to provide affordable housing opportunities for low income residents of Mississippi, particularly within the LOU community and adjacent counties. The organization also aims to provide education and support for those seeking affordable housing and to educate the public as to the need for such services. Funding of the Partnership Grant Program (PGP) was increased by $2 million this year under FHLB Dallas’ COVID-19 Relief Program to support Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) involved in affordable housing activities, stimulating small business development or providing small businesses with technical assistance. For 2020, program parameters also were expanded to include COVID-19 relief.
Through this unique grant program, FHLB Dallas member institutions contribute from $500 to $6,000 to a CBO, which FHLB Dallas matches at a new, higher 5:1 ratio (compared to the previous 3:1 ratio) resulting in a match of up to $30,000. If multiple member institutions contribute to the same CBO in one year, the maximum FHLB Dallas match for those member contributions is $60,000 per year. In both cases, the total grant to the CBO would be the sum of the member contribution(s) plus the FHLB Dallas match. Grants are awarded annually through FHLB Dallas and its member institutions.
“We have, over the past two years, been going through the process of creating a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency,” says Fred Laurenzo, chief administrative officer of LOU-HOME, Inc. “With partial support from some members of FHLB over the past two years, we were able to hire a staff counselor and make significant progress toward that goal.”
The organization intends to use grant funds primarily to build capacity for the housing and financial counseling program. The goal is for LOU-HOME, Inc., to be equipped to provide counseling as an entirely free service.
Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas says the PGP helps build relationships within communities.
“The Partnership Grant Program is a great tool for financial institutions and communities to continue building relationships with each other,” says Mr. Hettrick. “It was an honor to partner with Bank of Commerce and to help LOU-HOME, Inc., in providing additional resources to expand their programs.”
“Affordable housing is something we’re passionate about here at Bank of Commerce,” says Oxford Branch President Matt Parham. “We believe that investing in opportunities like this helps us become a better, stronger community as a whole.” For more information on Bank of Commerce, visit www.bankcom.com.
For more information on Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas visit www.fhlb.com.