$70K Grant To Help 10 Families Return Home 11 Years Post-Katrina

NEW ORLEANS — Project Homecoming, a 501c3 nonprofit, has been awarded a $70,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from Whitney Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). The funds will support critical repairs to 10 houses, allowing families to return home 11 years after Hurricane Katrina.

         "New Orleans is still rebuilding and bringing hundreds of families back home," said Kris Pottharst, executive director at Project Homecoming. "Without partners like Whitney Bank and FHLB Dallas, who are aware of this still-urgent need and are willing to invest in this very special community, these homes would not be repaired and these long-term residents would not live in safe and healthy homes once more. We are thankful for this critical partnership and generous grant that allows us to return these families home."

         The AHP grant, the first to Project Homecoming, will be matched by other funding sources as part of a $485,000 restoration project, Project Homecoming reps said.

         "Whitney's commitment to the city of New Orleans drives us to do all we can to help our nonprofit partners preserve affordable homeownership for our friends and neighbors," said Ashley Aubrey Harrison, assistant vice president and community affairs representative at Whitney Bank. "We appreciate our FHLB Dallas membership and the ways in which it helps us support our hometown."

         FHLB Dallas annually returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants to the communities served by its member institutions, like Whitney Bank, FHLB Dallas reps said. AHP grants fund a variety of projects, including home rehabilitation and modifications for low-income, elderly, and special-needs residents; down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified first-time homebuyers; and the construction of low-income, multifamily rental communities and single-family homes.

         Project Homecoming began as a foundation in 2006 under the auspices of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the Presbytery of South Louisiana, taking its name in 2007. The nonprofit hosts volunteer groups from around the country to help rebuild the Big Easy.

         "The AHP was designed, in part, for relief efforts like this," said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "But we could not reach community-based organizations like Project Homecoming, without the commitment of Whitney Bank to facilitate AHP grants. Our partnership is helping to restore the city for all citizens."

         In 2016, FHLB Dallas awarded $7.8 million in AHP grants to 27 projects across its five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. The grants will help create 1,499 new or rehabilitated housing units. Since the inception of the AHP in 1990, FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $245 million in AHP grants to assist more than 45,500 families.

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