updated 5/13/2011 2:47:06 PM ET 2011-05-13T18:47:06

GULFPORT, Miss., May 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Trustmark National Bank are pleased to announce they have awarded a $500,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to the Southern States Housing Group to provide first-time homebuyers down payment and closing cost assistance on new homes in the Piper Woods subdivision.

Once complete, Piper Woods will consist of 72 newly constructed homes targeted toward low- to moderate-income homebuyers. It is located in an area of the Mississippi gulf region that was struck by Hurricane Katrina.

"Piper Woods was developed to aid in the dire affordable housing needs that our region has faced since Hurricane Katrina," said Janet Bryan, chief operating officer at Southern States Housing Group. "This area took an extremely hard hit from the storm, but it shows a lot of promise to recover and become a thriving community once again."

Of the 72 homes, 44 will be set aside for senior citizens, which is a demographic that has struggled to obtain affordable housing since the storm hit. Eligible grant recipients are required to participate in homebuyer education courses, including financial literacy and credit counseling, offered through Southern States Housing Group. 

Homes in Piper Woods will have one of four floor plans, each offering approximately 1,350 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. Steffani Jenkins, vice president at Trustmark National Bank, worked with Southern States Housing Group to obtain the AHP grant for Piper Woods.

"Trustmark National Bank is pleased to be able to assist Gulfport residents in their recovery from one of the worst storms to hit this region," Ms. Jenkins said. "Our partnership with FHLB Dallas has enabled us to provide down payment and closing cost assistance to dozens of families."

Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants that are distributed through its member institutions, such as Trustmark Bank. AHP grants assist in the development or rehabilitation of affordable, owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income households located primarily within FHLB Dallas's five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.

In 2010, FHLB Dallas awarded $18.5 million in AHP grants through its member institutions, the largest amount in any single year since the program's inception in 1990. Approximately $6.2 million of the 2010 AHP funds were allocated to projects in Mississippi to assist in the development or renovation of 851 units within the state. In 2011, FHLB Dallas has offered $10.5 million in AHP grants. Recipients will be announced this summer.

Four homes have been completed in the Piper Woods subdivision, and three families have already moved into their new homes. Two more homes are currently under construction. Ms. Bryan said the area offers a great environment for families, with some of the area's leading schools located nearby. She also said funding sources and community partnerships have been invaluable resources in helping her organization address the affordable housing needs in Gulfport and the surrounding areas.

"Our partnership with the state of Mississippi, Trustmark National Bank, and FHLB Dallas has had a tremendous impact on the number of families we can serve," said Ms. Bryan. "We are able to reach more people who would otherwise not be able to afford a single-family residence. The grant funds will provide them the upfront cash for the down payment as well as enable them to reduce their monthly mortgage payments. In a region that has seen so much devastation, it is truly rewarding to partner with organizations that can bring hope and stability back to our community."

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 $33.2 billion as of March 31, 2011, 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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