Skip Navigation
  • February 22, 2024

Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and First Federal Bank of Louisiana Award $75K Grant to Help Homeowners with Property Ownership Issues
Funds to Support Clients With Legal Assistance and Consumer Education

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA, February 22, 2024 — The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) has awarded a $75,000 Heirs’ Property Program grant to Project Build a Future (PBAF). The funds, which were awarded through FHLB Dallas member First Federal Bank of Louisiana, will be used to help locals clear heirship or title issues on their properties and secure a will.

three women standing in front of a home holding a large check
CRA Manager Melissa Dickson of First Federal Bank of Louisiana (Left) presents a $75K ceremonial check under FHLB Dallas’ Heirs’ Property Program to Executive Director Charla Blake of Project Build a Future (Center) and Executive Director Genia Coleman-Lee of Southwest LA Law Center.

In 2023, FHLB Dallas awarded $905,200 which will assist more than 900 residents resolve an estimated 442 titles. 

Heirs’ property refers to property inherited without a will or legal documentation of ownership. As property is passed down, each successive generation generally results in more heirs being added to the inheritance. The absence of a deed or will can make it more complicated to obtain a clear title to land or homes as time passes.

Lake Charles, Louisiana-based PBAF will allocate $50,000 to Southwest LA Law Center (SWLLC) in the form of direct client assistance. The remaining funds will be used to create educational material for public information sessions.

“Unclear titles on homes and property are a big problem in this part of Louisiana, especially in the low- to moderate-income population,” said Charla Blake, executive director of PBAF. “By clearing the title, this program helps those who have worked hard to purchase and own their homes pass on their assets, clearly and legally, as generational wealth.”

Frequent hurricanes have damaged many Louisiana properties, and a lack of funds for repairs or complications with insurance companies stall rebuilding, pushing many residents to relocate. While PBAF qualifies and matches people with funds, the SWLLC will provide legal counsel and help people secure the title to the properties.

“As attorneys working at reduced fees, the funds will cover the core costs incurred in the process, allowing us to move properties to the heirs and bring Louisiana residents back to their communities,” said Genia Coleman-Lee, executive director of SWLLC. “These funds provide more than just a place to stay; they help people return home.”

A partner since the earliest days of PBAF, First Federal Bank of Louisiana is always on the lookout for ways to grow its relationship.

“Partnering with Project Build a Future and the Southwest Louisiana Law Center on the Heirs’ Property Program empowers people in our community to create a better tomorrow for themselves and future generations,” said First Federal Bank of Louisiana’s CRA Manager Melissa Dickson. “It reflects our aim to help our communities grow through homeownership and financial fitness.”

In the inaugural 2023 Heirs’ Property Program funding round, organizations could receive up to $75,000. Awardees included affordable housing associations, community development groups, legal aid organizations and a university. In 2024, FHLB Dallas has increased its allocation to $2 million with organizations eligible to receive up to $100,000 each.

“I am delighted that a bank as large as FHLB Dallas really listens to its representatives and provides for the needs of all the communities it serves,” said Ms. Blake. “The Heirs’ Property Program was developed for people having challenges acquiring or succeeding to properties and it will truly help nonprofits and people living in smaller or rural communities.”

The next application window for the Heirs’ Property Program awards opens September 3 and closes on September 30. Recipients must be in FHLB Dallas’ five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico or Texas and meet the program’s requirements. All funds are disbursed through an FHLB Dallas member institution.

“The Heirs’ Property Program was developed based on feedback from community-based organizations during our Affordable Housing Advisory Council meetings. We are delighted that members like First Federal Bank of Louisiana are using the program to help their communities build a secure future by settling heirship issues,” said Greg Hettrick, senior vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas.

For more information about the Heirs’ Property Program, visit

About the First Federal Bank of Louisiana 
First Federal Bank of Louisiana is a full-service, locally owned community bank that has helped build the communities we serve for over 70 years. With 16 offices currently serving multiple parishes across Southwest and Central Louisiana, it offers customers comprehensive retail and commercial products as well as investments and insurance services to meet all of their financial needs. Visit to learn more. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

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 $128.3 billion as of December 31, 2023, 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

About Project Build a Future
Project Build a Future (PBAF) is a nonprofit corporation committed to revitalizing its target area through quality, affordable home-ownership initiatives. Its target area encompasses the sections North of Broad Street in Lake Charles, LA. In addition, PBAF offers homebuyer counseling services that lay a solid foundation for financial success of homebuyers which strengthens their ability to be successful over the long term. In fact, PBAF has seen no foreclosures on any of its homes since its inception in 2001.

About the Southwest LA Law Center
The Southwest LA Law Center (SWLLC) is a “Modest Means” law firm which provides affordable legal assistance to those persons who do not qualify for free legal services. A sliding fee scale is used to determine the cost for representation. The Law Center has been serving the underprivileged communities of Southwest Louisiana since 1967 with measurable success and are proud of the deep tradition of excellence, ensuring only the highest quality of service to clients.

Contact Information:

Corporate Communications
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas