DALLAS, TX - The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) awarded a $63,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to the ASSIST Agency to continue renovations on the James A. Herod Village Apartments in Abbeville, Louisiana. Funding was made available through IBERIABANK in New Iberia.
Source: Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The new renovations will convert nine vacant classrooms into two-bedroom apartments to provide transitional living for very-low income individuals and families. Plans are still in development, but Dr. Jim Grant, Planning Director of Vermilion Faith Community of Care and a leader in the James A. Herod Apartment renovations, also wants to include treatment programs for substance and chemical abuse, and classroom/job training opportunities.
"Our efforts are to raise the standards in the neighborhood, and offer support for people before they are convicted of crimes or develop a chemical dependency; or provide a safe haven for people rebounding from such situations," said Dr. Grant. "Our goal is to renovate a historical piece of property that will hopefully enhance and reach out to the surrounding community."
Funding for the project was made available by IBERIABANK, which has used the Bank's Affordable Housing Program since its inception in 1990, and continues to apply for grants to support low-income housing projects throughout Louisiana. Carrie Curet, Vice President and Community Officer, said IBERIABANK strictly maintains its focus to support community development, and the housing and services that the James A. Herod Apartments plan to provide will make a significant impact on both individuals and the community.
The James A. Herod Apartment facility occupies a mostly vacated property that was once an elementary and a high school. The school was built in the mid-60s, and was originally segregated for African American students. In the 1970s, the school was integrated and served as a fourth through six grade elementary school. In the early 1990s, it was closed due to damages beyond repair. Since, the property and the surrounding neighborhood has depreciated in value, baring evidence of crime and vandalism.
Toward the turn of the century, the property was divided and sold to three different entities. The sector that once served as the high school, and suffered the most damage, is now owned by James A. Herod Apartments, Inc. The organization retained the original name of the school, making "HEROD" an acronym for "Helping Every Resident Overcome and Develop." With the help of donors, volunteers and local funding sources, the original gym and band hall were renovated and now hosts local activities for organizations such as the Red Cross, Boy and Girl scouts, Martin Luther King Jr. activities, basketball games and other community events. The second round of renovations plan to build on what has already been accomplished, and provide programs and services for those in need.
Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants issued by its member financial institutions. So far in 2009, the Bank has awarded $5.4 million in AHP grants to 25 affordable housing projects through its five-state District, including $1,189,500 in Texas, which will result in the creation or renovation of 178 affordable housing units in the state.