University District receives $76,500 match grant to boost affordable housing program

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Several local banks have come together to support the University of Arkansas at Little Rock-based University District Development Corporation’s mission of providing affordable housing for those in the community.

University District received a $76,500 matching grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) Partnership Grant Program. University District received donations totaling $16,500 from five banks – Arvest Bank, BancorpSouth, Simmons Bank, First Security Bank, and Bank OZK. FHLB Dallas generously matched the grants for $60,000.

“We are so grateful for this grant,” said Barrett Allen, executive director of University District. “We are so grateful to FHLB Dallas and our local banks for continuing their support of providing affordable housing during the pandemic.”

Through this unique grant program, FHLB Dallas member institutions contribute from $500 to $6,000 to a community-based organization (CBO), which FHLB Dallas matches at a new, higher 5:1 ratio approved for 2020 only in response to COVID-19 (compared to the previous 3:1 ratio) resulting in a match of up to $30,000. If multiple member institutions contribute to the same CBO in one year, the maximum FHLB Dallas match for those member contributions is $60,000 per year.

“Member institutions such as Arvest Bank used the Partnership Grant Program to not only help community organizations but also to impact populations served by the organizations,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. “It is an honor to work with Arvest Bank every year to provide these community-based organizations funding to continue their operations, especially during the pandemic.”

University District supporter BancorpSouth said they were happy to donate because affordable housing strengthens the community.

“We are pleased to support the University District Development Corporation’s efforts to create affordable housing options for people in Little Rock,” said Chris Locke, BancorpSouth president – Central Arkansas division. “At BancorpSouth, commitment to the community is a large part of who we are because we know that strong communities sustain our company, our customers, and our teammates. The work that UDDC is doing truly helps us build a stronger community.”

University District plans to use the grant to begin an affordable rental program that will complement its current efforts to renovate older homes and complete new construction on lots within University District neighborhoods.

“The grant from FHLB Dallas from last year allowed us to start the pre-development process for a rental program within University District,” Allen said. “This will be a new focus in our mission for affordable housing. This year’s grant will be used for acquisition and rehabilitations as well as construction of new single family homes.”

U.S. Congressman French Hill and representatives from Bank OZK, First Security Bank, Arvest Bank, Simmons Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas present funds to the University District Development Corporation and to World Services for the Blind, Jan 24, 2020. Photo by Business Wire.

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