updated 8/30/2010 10:46:03 AM ET 2010-08-30T14:46:03

PARAGOULD, Ark., Aug. 30, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whenever the Paragould Housing Authority staff discusses the most critical needs in their community, affordable housing for elderly and disabled individuals tops the list.

"That is the highest need we see on our waiting list for housing. A good 100 to 150 people on our waiting list for Section 8 are elderly and disabled," said Polly Fisk, assistant executive director of the Paragould Housing Authority in Paragould, Arkansas.

Several years ago, the housing authority purchased land on which it hoped to develop senior housing, but it didn't have the funds in the budget. Now it does.

The Paragould Housing Authority has received a $360,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and First National Bank in Paragould, which will be used toward the construction of Oakwood Villa, a four-plex for seniors and disabled residents that will cost roughly $460,000 to build. First National Bank and FHLB Dallas will join the Paragould Housing Authority today at a check presentation and media event at First National Bank.

"First National Bank is pleased to be able to participate in such a worthwhile project," said First National Bank President Donald Guinn. "This is just another way we can show appreciation to the community of which we've been a part of since 1889."

This is the first grant First National Bank has received through FHLB Dallas's AHP. Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits to the communities served by member institutions in the form of AHP grants issued through its member financial institutions.  The grants are used to purchase, construct, or rehabilitate single-family, transitional, and multifamily projects for very low- to moderate-income families. The Paragould Housing Authority's grant is part of $18.5 million in AHP grants that FHLB Dallas has awarded in 2010 through its more than 900 member institutions, including $1.5 million in the state of Arkansas to fund the creation or rehabilitation of 187 housing units.

A majority of the AHP funding this year – nearly $12 million – was awarded to rental housing projects.

"For the past few years there has been a big push for homeownership, but the recent mortgage crisis has prompted a critical need for more affordable rental housing," said FHLB Dallas President and CEO Terry Smith. "With this year's AHP grant awards, we will be able to assist our members in funding projects, like Oakwood Villa, that will help meet this housing need."

Now that the housing authority has received this AHP grant, it plans to embark on more projects, Ms. Fisk said.

"We're just excited. I think it's an open door for us. Now we know we can keep going forward and find other developments," she said. "With Oak Villa, there are just four families that we will help, but that's four families that didn't have help before. Any time the housing authority can help anyone, then that's an accomplishment for us. Our goal is housing people and helping low-income families have a brighter future and better survive in their daily lives."

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932.  FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $57.1 billion as of June 30, 2010, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.  For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas web site at fhlb.com.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3013

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