LEWISVILLE, Texas, Aug. 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For the past 12 years Merlene Prachniak had rented a room in California because renting an apartment was out of her price range. But when she lost her job at a flooring company because of downsizing, her son was finally able to convince her to move to Texas.
Ms. Prachniak had just one condition. "I always told everybody the one last thing I’d like to do before I die is own my own home," said the 66-year-old.
By the time Ms. Prachniak moved to Lewisville, Texas, her son had found a few homes for her to look at, but she didn’t have the funds to purchase a home. She met a realtor at an open house who told her about a program through the City of Lewisville that provided grants to first-time, low-income homebuyers. Ms. Prachniak and her son attended a homebuyers’ education class and did additional research on the Internet where they learned about another grant program – the Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) – available through Colonial Savings and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).
HELP grants assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. The funds are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Colonial Savings.
"Having the grant really helped because it allowed me to make some necessary repairs that I wouldn’t have been able to make had I not had the down payment and closing cost assistance," Ms. Prachniak said.
Colonial Savings has awarded $40,000 in HELP grants to assist eight families thus far in 2011.
"Colonial Savings is a proud participant in the HELP program," said Kenneth Majka, a vice president at Colonial Savings. "This program has been successfully used by our mortgage loan officers and qualified buyers for a number of years to facilitate the purchase of homes by individuals, who otherwise would find homeownership out of their reach. It is rewarding to help them become first-time homeowners."
In addition to facilitating the grant process, Ms. Prachniak said Colonial Savings has helped her through every step.
"Colonial Savings was awesome," she said. "My mortgage loan officer, Brian Spehar, answered all of my questions, and I had a lot of questions. But he and the rest of the staff at Colonial Savings were always there and ready to help. It feels good to own my home. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m really happy to have my own place."
In 2010, FHLB Dallas awarded $3 million in HELP funds through its member institutions to assist eligible families within the Bank’s five-state District. In 2011, FHLB Dallas has made $1.7 million in HELP funds available to its members. HELP grant recipients can receive up to $5,000 in grant money. The amount may increase up to $7,000 if a member, or another mortgage lender, contributes at least $350 toward costs associated with providing the mortgage to the homeowner.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $31.4 billion as of June 30, 2011, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
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Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas