updated 4/4/2011 2:47:14 PM ET 2011-04-04T18:47:14

JACKSON, Miss., April 4, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and BankPlus are pleased to announce they have awarded a $50,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to Midtown Partners, Inc. The grant funds will assist with Midtown Partners' efforts to revitalize the 215-acre Midtown neighborhood, which includes approximately 1,116 single-family units and is located just north of downtown Jackson, Mississippi. 

Midtown Partners recently completed a master planning process, in which residents, community stakeholders, and funding providers came together to create a new vision for the neighborhood. The Master Plan includes expanding housing opportunities; expanding health, education, and recreation; creating a mixed-use neighborhood; providing security for residents; and ecological planning and zoning. 

The neighborhood's population has decreased over the past 25 years, as the number of abandoned homes and buildings increased and commercial activity decreased. Midtown Partners hopes to revive the neighborhood by rehabilitating or constructing new homes and selling them to qualified homebuyers. Midtown offers opportunity for residents because of its location near Millsaps College and Baptist Hospital, as well as the University of Mississippi Medical Center, which is the largest employer in the Jackson metro area.

The AHP grant will assist with the initial Midtown rehabilitation efforts by providing five homebuyers with down payment and closing cost assistance. Midtown Partners has already demolished and reconstructed one single-family home, which is currently listed for sale, and is working to rehabilitate 4 abandoned homes. Qualified homebuyers will receive homebuyer education and counseling, and up to $10,000 in assistance from the AHP grant.

"Funding sources like the AHP grant are critical to our ability to meet our mission of community revitalization," said Mary Elizabeth Evans, director of community and economic development at Midtown Partners. "This grant will assist us in stimulating development and promoting homeownership as we revitalize Midtown. Our efforts will significantly impact the families living in the Midtown neighborhood, as well as the overall image of the city of Jackson."

In order to obtain the AHP funds, Midtown Partners partnered with BankPlus. AHP grant funds are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as BankPlus, to assist in the development of affordable, owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income households primarily across FHLB Dallas's five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits to support AHP. FHLB Dallas awarded $18.5 million in AHP grants in 2010, of which more than $6.2 million was allocated to projects in Mississippi to assist in the construction or renovation of 851 units within the state.

"Midtown Partners is a tremendous candidate for AHP funding because of their well-organized Master Plan and the great potential the Midtown neighborhood has to offer," said Mark Ouellette, vice president at BankPlus. "It is close to both the medical district and the art district, and has the potential to be a vibrant Jackson neighborhood. Midtown Partners has been very successful in their past projects, and this is a great start in assisting an area that has long been neglected."

Midtown Partners plans to rehabilitate or reconstruct dozens of homes in the Midtown neighborhood. This is the first step in its efforts to restore the area and attract new homebuyers and businesses. The goal is to create a safe, affordable, and quality mixed-use neighborhood for low- to moderate-income families. Funds from the AHP grant, as well as other funding sources, will assist in making this vision a reality.

About BankPlus

BankPlus, with total assets of more than $2.2 billion, has over 60 banking offices in 33 Mississippi communities. In addition to its Belzoni Main Office, other BankPlus offices are located in Bentonia, Brandon, Byram, Canton, Clinton, D'Iberville, Durant, Flora, Flowood, Gluckstadt, Hernando, Holly Bluff, Horn Lake, Isola, Jackson, Lexington, Madison, Meridian, Newton, Ocean Springs, Olive Branch, Pearl, Picayune, Pickens, Poplarville, Quitman, Ridgeland, Shubuta, Southaven, Stonewall, Tchula, Waynesboro and Yazoo City. For additional information on BankPlus, please visit www.bankplus.net .

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 $39.7 billion as of December 31, 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 website at fhlb.com.

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

CONTACT: Corporate Communications
         Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
         www.fhlb.com
         (214) 441-8445

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