United Community Bank and FHLB Dallas Help Fund Facility for Men
United Community Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) have partnered to award a $750,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to help renovate a former youth detention facility for use by The Church United for Community Development in St. James, Louisiana.
The former St. James Youth Detention Center will house The Church United Kingdom Men residential work training program designed to help men who are homeless or newly released from prison regain control of their lives and learn the job skills they need to return to society.
"It’s a work training program," said the Rev. Mark Stermer of the Church United for Community Development in St. Amant, Louisiana, who runs the faith-based facility which is already open and operating at partial capacity. "We get them in and get them work ready."
The Rev. Stermer said during the 12-month program the men learn life skills and a trade that can provide them a good income when they graduate from the program with money saved from working in the community while living at the facility.
He hopes that by year’s end The Church United for Community Development will have all the dormitories refurbished and will be able to expand its capacity from the 90 men living there now to a total of 150.
When asked about the importance of the AHP grant, he said: "It was extremely important. It jumped us ahead no telling how many years to be able to get these guys in there. It was a real difference maker."
William Barbera, chief financial officer of United Community Bank, said The Church United for Community Development was an existing client of United Community Bank.
"We started having conversations with them about the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Affordable Housing Program, and it seemed like a perfect fit," Mr. Barbera said. "We’re really excited to find a project right in our back yard and with an existing customer."
Mr. Barbera said a local business owner and member of the church purchased the former detention center so The Church United for Community Development could consolidate three locations for its Kingdom Men program into the new facility referred to as Life House.
AHP funds are intended to assist FHLB Dallas members in financing the purchase, construction and/or rehabilitation of owner-occupied, rental or transitional housing, as well as housing for homeless individuals in their community. AHP funds must be used to benefit households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the median income for the area.
Since the AHP’s inception in 1990, FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $300 million in AHP and AHP set-aside programs and has assisted more than 54,000 households.
"This $750,000 grant will help The Church United for Community Development complete the work on the residential buildings at its new facility so it can serve more men at one location," said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "That’s an important step, and we’re pleased to join our member, United Community Bank, to help make it possible."
For more information about the AHP, visit fhlb.com/ahp.
About United Community Bank
United Community Bank is a full-service financial institution offering all the things that bigger banks offer, and one thing they don't: local people with a commitment to providing personal service. United Community Bank was formed in 1964 in Lafourche Parish. Over the years we've branched out to serve a five-parish region covering Lafourche, Terrebonne, Ascension, St. John the Baptist and East Baton Rouge parishes. We live by a commitment to provide quality products and personal service to the neighbors we serve, and we look forward to being your financial partner.
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 $75 billion as of June 30, 2020, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 800 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. Visit fhlb.com for more information.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas