SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA – June 18, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — It took five years and a lot of encouragement, but Katherine Bolls is getting ready to move into her very own home.
Widowed for the past five years, she has been living in a rural home owned by the children of her deceased husband. Ms. Bolls, 50, spent five years trying to solve her housing dilemma.
She said she felt it was important to move into a safe neighborhood in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she’ll have more services readily available for her 22-year-old autistic son. Her son has been isolated in the rural setting, she said. Being close to a bus line and having a neighborhood where her son feels safe walking outside will improve his opportunities for living a more independent life, she said.
It took nearly five years, and Ms. Bolls admits to getting discouraged during that time.
“I received encouragement from one of my friends who said, ‘Katherine, keep on trying. Keep on trying.’”
Her first efforts to buy a foreclosed home failed when she discovered the homes in her price range were far beyond a do-it-yourself renovation. Lingering medical bills from her husband’s illness had also impacted her credit, which affected the price range of homes for which she qualified. And her salary as a teacher’s aide to disabled children is a modest one.
“Everything I found was just horrendously outside of my price range,” she said. “The walls were torn up, the lights were missing, and there were foundation problems galore.”
But as her credit score improved, Ms. Bolls decided to renew her efforts and took a first-time homebuyers’ class.
Judy Madison, assistant vice president of community outreach at Red River Bank, taught the class. There, Ms. Bolls learned about the Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) offers the grant through participating members, such as Red River Bank, to provide up to $5,000 in grant funds to assist with a down payment and closing costs.
With the assistance of the HELP grant, Ms. Bolls bought a 1,750-square-foot home in a historic district of Shreveport. The home, built in 1923, has three bedrooms, two baths, a front porch, and a beautiful yard, she says. According to Ms. Bolls, the home is a “fixer-upper,” but the work, like new paint, is within her reach. Her family has agreed to help her with renovations.
“It will be a work in progress, but I’m excited,” she said. “It’s in a nice area where my son feels safe walking around. My biggest concern, my biggest goal for being in town, is to help my son become independent.”
Her daughter is also planning to move nearby and will be close enough for regular visits.
She plans to move into her new home over the next week or so.
“Red River Bank and Judy Madison were incredible,” Ms. Bolls said. “Judy was so wonderful and so helpful and so encouraging. I really and truly don’t think I could have handled all the stress without that wonderful Christian lady helping me.”
Ms. Madison said Red River Bank was happy to assist Ms. Bolls in making her dream of homeownership a reality.
“HELP grants bring homeownership into reach for families, improving their lives in countless ways,” Madison said. “Red River was happy to be able to help Ms. Bolls find a home that will create a brighter future for her and for her son.”
Since its inception, FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $13.3 million in HELP grants. For 2013, FHLB Dallas has made available $1 million in HELP funds through its members. Please visit the FHLB Dallas website for remaining funds.
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 billion as of March 31, 2013, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
About Red River Bank
Red River Bank is an independent community bank headquartered in Central Louisiana with banking centers also located in Northwest Louisiana and the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. The bank was founded in 1998 by a small group of bankers, community leaders, and business people who wanted to create a better way to bank.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas