World Services for the Blind Gets $475K Housing Grant

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World Services for the Blind of Little Rock has received a $475,000 Affordable Housing Program grant to help it renovate 51 of its residential units.

Representatives of Arvest Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, along with U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., were on hand Friday for a ceremonial check presentation during a community development roundtable.

The program helps FHLB Dallas member institutions like Arvest in financing the purchase, construction or rehabilitation of homes, benefiting households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income. FHLB Dallas awards AHP grants annually through member institutions to support the creation or rehabilitation of affordable housing units.

World Services for the Blind is a nonprofit that operates a comprehensive rehabilitation center for the blind and visually impaired.

“World Services for the Blind is an organization known around the world for the outstanding work it does to help the blind and visually impaired learn to live independently,” Hill said in a news release. “With this generous grant from Arvest Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, World Services will be able to continue to offer its programs in a safe, modernized building for years to come.”

“For the first time in the 72-year history of our organization, our residential clients will be able to control the temperature of their apartment on their own, rather than being served by one central heating and air system,” Sharon Giovinazzo, president and CEO of World Services for the Blind, said. “That is certainly a convenience they will enjoy.”

In 2019, FHLB Dallas awarded $17 million in AHP grants to 35 projects in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.