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Mercy Housing and Human Development Taps Disaster Rebuilding Assistance to Aid in Hurricane Recovery

Julie Egressy, executive director of Mercy Housing and Human Development (Mercy Housing), knows all too well the impact Hurricanes Zeta and Ida had on Mississippi communities.

“The hurricanes both started out as basic storms, and that was the problem,” said Ms. Egressy. “They both became more than what was expected so people were caught by surprise and hadn’t prepared or evacuated as they would have if the storms were categorized earlier as hurricanes. The demographic we serve does not have homes that are sturdy enough to withstand these storms.”

One of those impacted by Hurricane Zeta was 77-year-old widow Carrie Jackson, whose roof was damaged. Ms. Jackson received a $7,200 Disaster Rebuilding Assistance (DRA) subsidy from Community Bank of Mississippi and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) to make needed repairs to her roof.

“I appreciate everyone involved and want to thank them for everything they did,” said Ms. Jackson. “I don’t know what I would have done without the help of DRA and Julie Egressy at Mercy Housing.”

DRA funds help FHLB Dallas members provide much-needed aid to people whose homes have been damaged, like Ms. Jackson, in a natural disaster, such as flooding, a hurricane or tornado.

“We primarily used DRA to repair recipients’ roofs and other items like roof decking, fascia board and interior ceilings,” said Harry Piascik, senior vice president, commercial lender at Community Bank of Mississippi. “We can’t thank FHLB Dallas enough for its commitment to our community, especially after the hurricanes.”

Ms. Egressy added that the pandemic didn’t help in the recovery.

“When you add in COVID-19, it was all happening at once for these folks. They had damage to their homes, but it was difficult to find contractors to do the work, so people have had tarps over their homes for more than a year,” said Ms. Egressy. “I flew out of town a couple of months ago on business, and there are still blue tarps on roofs everywhere throughout Gulfport, Mississippi, so our community remains impacted to this day.”

Through member institutions, DRA provides funds for the repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of owner-occupied housing affected by a disaster event in federally declared disaster areas within FHLB Dallas’ five-state District.

FHLB Dallas disburses funds to members on a first-come, first-served basis, one homeowner at a time. The county or parish in which the homeowner resides must have been designated for individual assistance by FEMA no earlier than March 12, 2017.

The maximum program award per household is $10,000. Reimbursement for repair, reconstruction or replacement work is limited to assistance not already paid for by insurance, federal or state emergency assistance or any other funding sources.

“The hurricanes our District has endured over the last few years wreaked havoc on communities along the Gulf Coast, especially among very low- to low-income families who may not be able to afford to make repairs to live comfortably in their homes,” said Greg Hettrick, FHLB Dallas first vice president and director of Community Investment. “It was a pleasure to join Community Bank of Mississippi and Mercy Housing and assist in this true community effort to help Ms. Jackson.”

To learn more about DRA, visit

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