Community Spotlight

 

FHLBank Topeka's mission is to partner with our members to make a difference in communities throughout Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Here are four examples of our partnerships in action.

 

Lincoln, Nebraska

Affordable Housing Program Grant

 

Home to James Soby and other low-income residents with disabilities, the President and Ambassador buildings in downtown Lincoln, Neb., needed extensive renovations. The historical buildings were converted into low-income housing units in the early 90s and were managed by a partnership of three churches called the Interfaith Coalition. After 20 years, Interfaith and community partners Excel Development Group and Horizon Bank faced funding and relocation issues.

 

Brent Williams, president and CEO of Excel Development Group said, “If these buildings were not saved, the residents would have most likely ended up at the mission.” 


Resident relocation is standard for many renovations, but a little more complex when the special needs of the residents range from language barriers to mobility issues. For James Soby, a resident of 20 years who is visually impaired, the temporary relocation threatened his daily activities. To aid in the transition, the property manager photographed his entire apartment including the contents of every drawer and cabinet.  Every item was logged and placed as close to its original location as possible with input from James. This helped James to adapt quickly to his new surroundings when the renovations were complete. Great care was put into the relocation and renovation to provide safe, decent affordable housing for some of Lincoln’s most vulnerable citizens.
 
The President and Ambassador building rehab received a $400,000 FHLBank Topeka Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant in 2013 to fill the funding gap. “The project wouldn’t have happened without the AHP grant from FHLBank Topeka,” stated Paula Rhian, assistant vice president at Horizon Bank. The $8.1 million rehab took four years to complete. When the renovation was finished in 2016 the President and Ambassador buildings were awarded the 2016 Redevelopment Award from the Downtown Lincoln Association. 
 


 

Emporia, Kansas

Affordable Housing Program Grant

 

Dora Guerrero’s leaky roof had controlled her life for many years.

 

“If we weren’t home and it started to get cloudy, we’d stop what we were doing to rush home to get our buckets in place,” said Guerrero. “We had leaks in every room and didn’t have the money to fix it.” Guerrero cares for her adult son, who is disabled, in the home she’s owned since 1985. Her resources are limited, and her roof wasn’t the only issue.

 

“Many of our windows were cracked. I covered them with plastic and blankets in the winter,” she explained. “We couldn’t afford to heat more than two rooms so were confined to a smaller space.”

 

Luckily, a friend told her about the Emporia Homeowner Repair Program, which is funded by a $100,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant through FHLBank member ESB Financial. Jeff Lynch, community development coordinator for the City of Emporia, administers the program. Twenty homeowners, like Guerrero, with incomes below 50% of the area median across Emporia benefit from the funding.

 

“We have almost completed the final project under the grant,” said Lynch. “Once the weather cooperates, we’ll complete a new roof for our 20th recipient.” Other repair projects have included projects such as replacing windows, furnaces or air conditioners, and repairing plumbing and electrical issues.

 

Many of the recipients are disabled or elderly. Each project is allocated $5,000. “Although this amount is usually sufficient, that isn’t the way life works sometimes,” said Lynch. “In those cases, we leverage local funds to fill the gap.”

 

In Guerrero’s case, she received a brand new roof and new windows. “I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am. I’m able to look out the window now, and don’t have to worry about my roof falling in.” she said. “The repairs are such a positive change for me and my son.”

 


 

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Affordable Housing Program Grant

 

You hear a lot about young adults in the millennial generation not pursuing homeownership. Tristen Miller, a 22-year-old Coloradan, broke that mold..

 

Thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Teller County, Tristen and her two young nieces moved into a new home in October 2015.

 

"Having this home provides us stability and peace of mind," she said. "It’s great to have a designated place to do homework and a good neighborhood for the girls to play in."

 

As part of the Habitat for Humanity project, Tristen not only purchased her own home, she also helped build it. She provided 300 hours of sweat equity to make her new home a reality.

 

One way Habitat for Humanity of Colorado supplements their funding pool for projects like Tristen's house is through help from FHLBank Topeka and its members. The Habitat for Humanity state organization was awarded a $400,000 Affordable Housing Program grant in 2012 through FirstBank, Lakewood, Colo.

 

"With over 20 years of history between us, FirstBank is proud to be associated with such a worthwhile organization like Habitat for Humanity," said Mark O’Connor, SVP, Director of Investments for FirstBank. "The Bank anticipates future projects where this partnership will continue for many years to come."

 


 

Columbus, Nebraska

Homeownership Set-aside Program

 

Justin and Krista Moon knew they wanted more children, but the two-bedroom home they rented wasn’t fit for their growing family. Without the other knowing, both Justin and Krista began to casually search for a new home online.

 

When they discussed starting to look for a house, they were surprised that they both already had a favorite – the same 1930s Craftsman-style home with a practical layout and architectural appeal. They then contacted a realtor to see the home in person.

 

“We got pre-approved with no money down to see what the monthly payments would be,” said Krista. “It resulted in a monthly payment that we wouldn’t be able to afford."

 

Luckily, Justin and Krista’s realtor helped connect them with Hollie Olk at Pinnacle Bank. She helped find the best financing options and applied for a Homeownership Set-aside Program grant through FHLBank Topeka. Pinnacle Bank, an FHLBank Topeka member since 1992, helped 25 new homebuyers through the HSP in 2016.

 

The $5,000 down payment helped bring the Moon family’s monthly payment to an amount they could afford, and they moved into their new home this summer. The move came just in time – Krista is expecting their third child later this year.

 


 

Lincoln, Nebraska

Discounted Advance Program

 

After a debilitating car accident, professional skateboarder Billy Moyle suffered a broken vertebrae and partially severed spine. Billy found a rehabilitation program in Lincoln, Neb., but needed somewhere to live nearby. Prairie Crossing Apartments, right across the street from his rehabilitation center, was the perfect solution.

 

“Rehabilitation is my life right now. It’s everything to me,” he said. “Having this affordable apartment that is wheelchair accessible helps me focus on getting better.”

 

Prairie Crossing is a 76-unit apartment and townhouse development managed by the Lincoln Housing Authority. It is open to Lincoln residents with low incomes and includes several wheelchair-accessible apartments.The project was financed by West Gate Bank, Lincoln, with help from a $2 million discounted Community Housing Program advance through FHLBank Topeka.

 

“With this and other projects in low-income areas," said Carl Sjulin, West Gate Bank’s president, "FHLBank’s special funding is one of the key parts of our success.”

 


 

Yukon, Oklahoma

Homeownership Set-aside Program

 

Ann Hauenstein, an interior designer in Oklahoma City, wanted to purchase a home before her upcoming wedding. As a new homeowner, the downpayment was daunting. That’s where The First State Bank, Oklahoma City, Okla., stepped in to help with the support of FHLBank Topeka’s Homeownership Set-aside Program.

 

“Without that grant, we would not have been able to purchase this home,” Ann said. “It has opened up so many other things we can do now. We finally feel like we’ve put down some roots.”

 

The First State Bank was able to offer Ann a $7,500 HSP grant to help with her downpayment on a new home in Yukon, Okla. Matt Brown, VP of mortgage lending for The First State Bank, worked with Ann on her mortgage and presented the opportunity for an HSP grant..

 

“We don’t take the responsibility of helping our customers lightly. We know it’s a huge milestone for them to acquire their first home,” Matt explained. “The Homeownership Set-aside Program gets buyers into homes when they are almost there. It helps them achieve their goal.”

 

The First State Bank, an FHLBank Topeka member since 2006, helped 43 new homebuyers through the HSP in 2014. They were able to help so many in the Oklahoma City area due to a change to the program that expanded grant opportunities to urban areas. Previously only rural first-time homebuyers had been able to participate in the HSP.

 

Address:

One Security Benefit Place
Suite 100 | Topeka, KS 66606

Phone:

785.233.0507

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