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.
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.
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.”