updated 11/22/2010 2:15:17 AM ET 2010-11-22T07:15:17

SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Jefferson Bank are pleased to announce they have awarded a $176,445 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home to assist with the construction costs of a 32-bed emergency center for adolescents between the age of 12 and 18 years old.

The Valero Emergency Center at St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home was completed in 2009, and serves as a safe haven for adolescents that are homeless or have been removed from their home and placed in Child Protective Services due to physical and/or sexual abuse. The AHP grant will help fill the funding gap to cover outstanding construction costs. 

Director James Castro at St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home said there is a significant shortage of emergency shelters and care for adolescents. Only 40 emergency shelter beds in Bexar County are licensed to serve adolescents, and with the addition of 32 beds at the Valero Emergency Center, it almost doubles the capacity of adolescents that can be served.

"Housing is the first step in providing emergency services," said Mr. Castro. "By providing a place to live, we are able to further assist these children through supportive services while they are under our care. Our goal is to break the cycle of abuse, and design a course that will prevent these adolescents from gravitating back to their past and to where they came from. We become their anchor and strive to make each one of them successful in life."

The center provides emergency and transitional housing and addresses the special and unique needs of each adolescent, including physical and mental medical services, education, counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, teen pregnancy prevention, juvenile probation diversion, job training, and internship opportunities. 

The Valero Emergency Center remains, on average, at 85 percent capacity. Mr. Castro said many of the adolescents served at the center move on to enroll in college, technical schools, or find jobs and generate a stable income. Many return to the center to visit and assist with various activities. Although the center can no longer assist adolescents after the age of 18, many consider St. Peter-St. Joseph a place they can return to and feel at home. 

Carlos Pena, vice president at Jefferson Bank, obtained the AHP grant for St. Peter-St. Joseph through FHLB Dallas. This is the first AHP grant awarded by Jefferson Bank, and Mr. Pena said the Valero Emergency Center was a perfect candidate for the grant program.

"Jefferson Bank has had a long and successful relationship with St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home," said Mr. Pena. "They have a life-changing impact on the children they serve. We are happy to support our community and our sponsorship helps St. Peter-St. Joseph achieve their mission of caring for youth in San Antonio."

Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants issued through its member financial institutions, such as Jefferson 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.

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 Jefferson Bank

Jefferson Bank is a family-owned, community bank serving San Antonio and surrounding areas in the Texas Hill Country. Through the years, the Bank has created an elite team of highly skilled, family-oriented and civic-minded individuals who contribute to the Bank's continuing success. The Bank was founded just after World War II in the Jefferson neighborhood area in San Antonio.  It has grown from a single location on Fredericksburg Road in San Antonio to one of Texas' most respected independent banks with 12 banking centers in San Antonio, New Braunfels, & Boerne, including residential mortgage offices and a trust & wealth management division. The Bank, characterized by consistent and conservative growth throughout its 64 year history, boasts assets close to $725 million.

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 $51.6 billion as of September 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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