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  • March 23, 2022

Mother of Two Purchases First Home with Help from $6K Subsidy
The First and FHLB Dallas Award First-Time Homebuyer Funds

From left to right: Steven Coleman, market president, The First; Joel Downey, executive director, Starkville Habitat; Keva Robertson, HELP recipient and homeowner; Gregory Thames, North Mississippi division president, The First.
STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI, March 23, 2022 — Keva Robertson, 28, just purchased her first home in Starkville, Mississippi, with the help of a $6,000 Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) subsidy from The First Bank (The First) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). The banks and Starkville Habitat for Humanity (Starkville Habitat) representatives celebrated yesterday at a ceremonial check presentation at Ms. Robertson’s new home. 

Prior to her purchase, Ms. Robertson, a restaurant shift manager and mom of two, rented a mobile home plagued with issues, including mold.  

“I didn’t want my kids to get sick living there, and I wanted a stable home where my kids could go outside and play,” Ms. Robertson said. “Homeownership is a big step in my life, and I am very blessed to accomplish it at such a young age. I don’t know where I would have gotten the funds without HELP.”

Ms. Robertson learned about HELP from Joel Downey, executive director of Starkville Habitat, whom she had worked with to help build her new home. 

Starkville Habitat, established in 1986, has about 25 applicants for every house it builds. 

“All of our homeowners must have the ability to repay the loan,” Mr. Downey said. “Keva worked hard and completed all her sweat equity and homebuyer education classes and had stable employment. She really impressed us as a person, and we felt she deserved both a new home and the assistance through HELP to make it happen.”

The First’s North Mississippi Division President Gregory Thames said HELP is a great program that allows people to begin building equity and a home at the same time. 
“Starkville is a brand-new market for The First, and we couldn’t have found a better program, and homeowner, to invest in the Starkville community,” said Mr. Thames. “We are honored to work with FHLB Dallas to help Ms. Robertson and her family purchase a home.”

HELP subsidies are offered by FHLB Dallas through its member institutions, like The First, to assist first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs on new or existing homes. For 2022, FHLB Dallas set aside $4 million available through its members on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit to view the current availability of HELP funds.

“Just as the name indicates, HELP assists community members like Ms. Robertson in realizing that homeownership is achievable,” said FHLB Dallas First Vice President and Director of Community Investment Greg Hettrick. “We are very proud to offer this program through our members so they can help their customers make long-term commitments to their communities.” 

About The First Bancshares Inc.
The First Bancshares, Inc., headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the parent company of The First Bank. Founded in 1996 near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, The First has grown rapidly through South Mississippi, South Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia providing services competitive to those found at larger regional banks. The company’s stock is traded on Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol FBMS. Information is available on the company’s website

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $63.5 billion as of December 31, 2021, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 800 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit our website at

Contact Information:

Corporate Communications
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas