FHLBank of Indianapolis home repair programs make life-changing impacts on homeowners

This article is part of the Block by Block series, supported by FHLBank IndianapolisIFF, and the Community Economic Development Association (CEDAM), the Block by Block series follows small-scale minority-driven development and affordable housing issues in the state of Michigan.
A completed home repair in Genesee County.
Being a homeowner is a dream for many. Just like anything, there are pros and cons. Although a home mortgage can sometimes be cheaper than paying rent monthly, other costs can come along. When a furnace breaks or a roof leaks, these costly repairs can have a devastating impact on homeowners’ bank accounts and their lives. 
To assist homeowners and address the continual needs for affordable housing, the  Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis aims to provide a reliable source of liquidity to member banks, credit unions, and community development financial institutions. Through a network of over 300 member institutions located in Indiana or Michigan, FHLBank Indianapolis provides grants and low-cost loans to push forward community economic development, homeownership, and neighborhood revitalization. 
Ronna EdwardsFHLBank Indianapolis’ Ronna Edwards, senior compliance analyst, says her role has been constantly evolving and changing in the 27 years she’s been with the organization. Edwards works closely with Homeownership Opportunities Program (HOP), the Neighborhood Impact Program (NIP), the Accessibility Modification Program (AMP), and the HomeBoost Minority Down Payment Assistance Program. NIP had its inception in 1999 and continues to evolve to meet the needs of individual communities. FHLBank Indianapolis Michigan members have typically embraced NIP and thus successfully accessed more funds than their Indiana counterparts.
“By regulation, we are required to give away 10% of our net profits every year in the form of grants for affordable housing. That’s where all these dollars come from so it is private money. Each of the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks serves different districts and have different needs. The Indianapolis bank is only one of two who chooses to use some of our money for owner-occupied rehabilitation.”
With NIP, homeowners were able to access up to $10,000 in 2023 for deferred maintenance repairs: doors, siding, gutters, HVAC systems, roofing, and windows. From 2018 to 2023, FHLBank Indianapolis’ NIP and AMP funding assisted 2,384 Michigan households with funds totaling $18,421,753.
“A lot of households are paying their bills and putting food on the table, doing minor maintenance and upkeep to their home, but when they have a large need like roof, siding, windows, or replacing their HVAC system,” Edwards says, “they may not have sufficient funds. That’s where we’re able to play a part in the needs.”
1st State Bank Mortgage DepartmentAlthough FHLBank Indianapolis is behind the funding, many homeowners working with its local member lending institutions aren’t always aware of where the money comes from. 
“For the most part, we sit in the back and try to live a little bit vicariously when members do share these amazing stories from happy homeowners,” Edwards says.
As the solutions for addressing the statewide housing crisis are wide-ranging and vary for each individual community’s needs, there are many moving parts and ways to help, says Edwards. 
“We recognize that the NIP program is a small drop in a large bucket in addressing the needs,” she says. “We recognize the need exists, which is why we  continue to offer not only down payment assistance funds, but to allow our dollars to be used for owner-occupied rehab.”

Amy Courtney
NIP and AMP fund home repairs in Genesee and Saginaw counties 
Amy Courtney is a mortgage loan officer at 1st State Bank, an FHLBank Indianapolis member institution, based in Saginaw that utilizes the NIP and AMP programs to help homeowners with needed repairs and accessibility modifications. Opening in 2004 with 11 employees, the bank has grown to include five locations. 
“We’re kind of the middleman, so we have to make sure all the documents are there before sending them in,” Courtney says. “That way, it doesn’t tie up funds, and then those funds don’t get potentially used for others.” 
Seeing the impact these funds have on families and their lives is emotionally moving for all parties involved. 
“This is a big thing for these people who can’t afford to do it themselves, but their house is in dire need,” Courtney says. “I’ve had people crying in my office thanking us, calling on Thanksgiving and Christmas to say thank you. To see that really warms your heart. That’s what makes this whole thing worth it.”
1st State Bank
Serving Flint and Genesee County, FHLBank Indianapolis member Metro Community Development works with small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, consumers, home buyers, and developers. In each area, the nonprofit works to support the community in various ways. In the housing sector, Metro Community Development does a few different things to make an impact. From 2019 to 2022, Metro Community Development cumulatively awarded more than $1 million to Genesee County homeowners for repairs and improvements. 
Brian Glowiak“In 2023, we did about $700,000 in combined home improvement programs,” says Metro Community Development CEO Brian Glowiak. “We expect to do another $600,000 to $700,000 this year. The City of Flint also awarded us $1.5 million for home improvement programs up to $15,000 per household. That program is about to start very shortly, and I suspect we will exhaust those funds in about seven to nine months.”
Metro Community Development also works hard to get the word out about the available funds to local organizations serving older adults and people living with disabilities. AMP funding can cover improvements like ramps, main floor restrooms or laundry rooms, and improvements that increase mobility. 
“When a given application is approved, we act as the overseer, watching the project, making sure it’s completed, making sure the homeowner is satisfied with the repairs by the contractor,” Glowiak says. 
Seeing how these funds are improving the quality of life for residents and their communities is rewarding for Glowiak. 
“It helps revitalize neighborhoods because you’re raising the property values of the homes by making these types of repairs like new windows, siding, roof, new furnaces and water tanks,” he says. “There are benefits to the homeowner including improving quality of life and addressing safety and possibly building code violations.”
A housing developer, Metro Community Development also owns low-income affordable apartments and single-family homes. 
“We also work to renovate homes to provide opportunities for first-time home buyers,” Glowiak says. “We are the lead agency for the Continuum of Care in Genesee County … working with 60 local agencies, including shelters, that provide direct services and related services to the homeless population.”
As a certified HUD counseling agency, Metro Community Development also provides education regarding financial literacy, empowerment, homebuyer education classes, and, soon, mortgage lending. 
“One of the most satisfying things in my position is hearing that we helped aid someone homeless through the process of getting them shelter, getting them long-term rental housing, providing counseling to help with their budgeting, and have these people ultimately become homeowners,” Glowiak says. “That’s probably the most gratifying aspect.” 
Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new, interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.

Photos of 1st State Bank photos by Ashley Brown.
Other photos courtesy subjects.

This article is part of the Block by Block series, supported by FHLBank IndianapolisIFF, and the Community Economic Development Association (CEDAM), the Block by Block series follows small-scale minority-driven development and affordable housing issues in the state of Michigan.
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