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  • February 01 2024
  • Louisiana

Nonprofit and Law Center Team Up for Heirship Solutions

Helping families pass down clear titles for their property is critical for maintaining home ownership. FHLB Dallas launched its Heirs’ Property Program in 2023. In February 2024, FHLB Dallas awarded  a $75,000 Heirs’ Property Program grant to Project Build a Future (PBAF)  through member First Federal Bank of Louisiana. The funds will be used to help locals clear heirship or title issues on their properties and secure a will.

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.

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.”

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

Do you have a success story using FHLB Dallas programs? We would love to hear from you! Submit your story here.

 

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