updated 10/10/2010 12:23:38 PM ET 2010-10-10T16:23:38

HOUSTON, Oct. 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Amegy Bank are pleased to announce that they have awarded a $44,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to assist with the construction of Acres Homes Garden Apartments, a 15-unit permanent housing property for very low-income residents with chronic mental illness.

Acres Homes Garden Apartments will offer a quiet, communal setting for residents with access to supportive services such as mental and physical treatment and therapy, counseling, job training, and education courses. The Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority (MHMRA) of Harris County is a close partner and vital resource that assisted with the development of Acres Homes Garden Apartments. MHMRA Harris County sought funding for the project, and will continue to support it through supportive services and referrals for qualified residents after the property is complete.

Samuel Hom, director of housing development at MHMRA Harris County, said he assisted with the development of several other housing projects in the Houston area that are similar to Acres Homes Garden Apartments, and AHP grants have been a critical resource in funding these projects.

"There is such a critical need for permanent housing in Harris County for people with chronic mental illness," said Mr. Hom. "Many of our residents have never left home, or are homeless due to their illness. MHMRA Harris County's goal is to raise awareness that this type of housing is vital to the community, and by establishing more properties to accommodate this need, more residents are able to grow and become productive and supportive members of society. These small apartment communities, like Acres Homes Garden, would not be possible without the unwavering support and efforts of MHMRA Harris County Executive Director Dr. Steven B. Schnee, and MHMRA Harris County Board of Trustees, which is led by Chairperson Lynne Cleveland."

Mr. Hom continued by saying that a communal environment helps residents support each other. In addition, the property provides convenient access to treatments and services they may need while still living independently in their own apartment.

"Our residents flourish in this type of apartment community. Many that are living in similar properties are now working, volunteering, and going to school. It is such a positive environment, and the funding we are able to obtain from resources such as AHP grants make it possible for our residents to live in safe and affordable homes, which opens the door for other possibilities," said Mr. Hom. "Because residents are in a stable living environment, they can focus on other aspects that will help them live a more productive life."

Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants issued through its member financial institutions, such as Amegy Bank, to assist in the development of affordable owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income households.  In 2010, FHLB Dallas awarded $18.5 million in AHP grants through its member institutions to 79 housing projects, which will help create or renovate 2,632 housing units across FHLB Dallas's five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Of the $18.5 million awarded, $5.5 million was allocated to projects in Texas which will create or renovate 912 housing units within the state.

Amegy Bank has supported several similar housing projects through AHP grants, and has worked closely with MHMRA Harris County. Mr. Hom noted that Amegy Bank has been very supportive and helpful in providing funding for these projects.

"MHMRA is an excellent partner in finding the right land and the right neighborhood for this type of housing project," said Brian Stoker, senior vice president at Amegy Bank. "We are excited that we have been able to continuously support MHMRA in its endeavors, and believe that through these projects MHMRA is able to effectively respond to the needs of the community within different areas of the city of Houston."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of AHP, and the $18.5 million represents the largest amount FHLB Dallas has awarded in any single year of the program. Since 1990, AHP has assisted more than 38,000 families with their affordable housing needs. 

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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