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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 some examples of our partnerships in action.

 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Affordable Housing Program Grant

 

“People want to be there.” That’s the explanation Roland Chupik, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services in Oklahoma City, gives for why Commons on Classen is completely occupied. The project opened its doors July 1, 2017, and was completely occupied by November. 

 

Downtown Oklahoma City hadn’t seen a new affordable housing development in decades. Commons on Classen gives seniors access to midtown stores and restaurants within walking distance. In the not-so-distant future, it will be only half a block away from the new trolley system.
 

A convenient location isn’t the only thing Commons on Classen has going for it. The Urban Land Institute of Oklahoma named the project a finalist in its Annual Impact Awards in the small-scale development category. The awards honor projects that represent the best practices in land use and development.
 

Another aspect of Commons on Classen that Roland is proud of is its diversity. “Our residents represent a wide range of ethnicities, marital statuses and backgrounds. It’s a cool community and one I like to stop by and hang out in,” he said.

 

To make Commons on Classen a reality, NHS worked with BOK Financial, to apply for an Affordable Housing Program grant. They were awarded a $750,000 AHP grant in 2014. “BOK Financial is very proud to have sponsored the AHP grant which assisted in making Commons on Classen possible,” said Lisa Albers, SVP. “It is very satisfying and rewarding when many parties come together to provide much needed affordable senior housing.” 


 

Broomfield, Colorado

Affordable Housing Program Grant

 

Gerald and Donna are two of eight adults with developmental disabilities that reside in Imagine! Santa Fe group home.

Completed in 2014 with the help of a $90,000 AHP grant through FHLBank Topeka member Commerce Bank, Santa Fe is one of four group homes built to accommodate adults with disabilities in Broomfield, Colo., since 2008.
 

In 2004, Gerald began using services offered by Imagine!, a community- centered organization that provides services for citizens with disabilities in  Broomfield and Boulder counties in Colorado. Gerald has developmental disabilities requiring him to be in a wheelchair and communicate through a  tablet.
 

Before 2008, it would have been impossible for Gerald to live on his own. But, with the help of Imagine!, Gerald and his wife, Donna, who he met through Imagine! are able to live independently in the Santa Fe home. 

“It’s harder and harder for people with disabilities to find these kind of houses,” said Fred Hobbs, Imagine! public relations manager.

“And it’s harder and harder for organizations to provide services for people with developmental disabilities in a fiscally responsible way."


Located on the outskirts of Broomfield, the Santa Fe home was designed with larger hallways and bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs and staff. 


For residents like Gerald and Donna, the location and amenities of the home has opened up a world of independence they have never known.

 



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.”

 


 

Address:

500 SW Wanamaker Road
Topeka, KS 66606

Phone:

785.233.0507

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