updated 6/1/2011 5:17:41 PM ET 2011-06-01T21:17:41

MONROE, La., June 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Community Trust Bank are pleased to announce they have awarded a $120,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to the Rays of Sonshine, to help fund the construction of 12 new homes for very low-income residents.

The Rays of Sonshine is building the homes as part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization in a south Monroe, Louisiana, neighborhood. Rays of Sonshine is calling the project the Sonshine Community of Hope. The 12 new homes will provide permanent and permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless people, and very low-income individuals and families.

Rays of Sonshine, a Monroe-based nonprofit organization, provides residential and intensive outpatient services for women and women with children seeking recovery from substance abuse. The organization already operates two group homes, two post-treatment emergency shelters, and a safe haven for women recovering from substance abuse.

"Rays of Sonshine saw that as people progressed in their recovery and were ready for independent housing, even if they had a little bit of money saved up, they could not find safe places to live," said Kim Golden, neighborhood project facilitator. "Housing instability is a real risk factor for a relapse situation for people in recovery. It is part of our mission to move in a direction of helping those in recovery with that next step to stable housing."

Ms. Golden said the AHP grant will be used toward the construction of the homes, including making the homes more energy efficient. "The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is allowing us to incorporate energy efficient technology, such as tankless hot water heaters and extra insulation, into the homes so that they will be affordable from a utilities standpoint," she added.

Rays of Sonshine worked with Community Trust Bank to apply for the AHP grant.

"Community Trust Bank saw the vision and believed in our ability to accomplish this project very early and didn't even hesitate to sponsor our AHP application," Ms. Golden said.

Ms. Golden added that Community Trust Bank has been one of the organization's biggest cheerleaders, and has helped to provide the group direction.

"Rays of Sonshine is very inspirational to young women and families, and it is a leader in the community in which we live," said Shelia Grayson, Community Trust Bank vice president and community reinvestment officer. "Rays of Sonshine does great work, and Community Trust Bank is fortunate to have worked with the organization in its effort to provide affordable, stable housing in our community."

Rays of Sonshine plans to begin construction on the homes in mid-June 2011, and expects to have all 12 homes substantially completed by December 31, 2011.

"This is a community project, and a place to work together for our shared dreams to become reality," said Lynn Daniel, Rays of Sonshine founder and executive director. "We appreciate the faith and support of Community Trust Bank, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, and our other community partners and neighbors. We look forward to seeing families grow strong and build on their dreams one step at a time."

In order to reside in one of the new homes planned for the Sonshine Community of Hope, residents must be willing to live drug free and sober; work on an individual success plan that includes improving job skills and education; help maintain the property; and give back to the community as a volunteer, according to Ms. Golden.

Rays of Sonshine is working with community partners to eventually develop the Sonshine Community of Hope to include 100 to 150 mixed residential units to serve a broad range of income levels, including moderate and middle incomes. The organization is also working with a steering committee of residents to bring a business center, a neighborhood market, an extended hour day care center, and a community garden to the area.  

AHP funds are used to purchase, construct, and/or rehabilitate single-family, transitional, and multifamily projects for very low- to moderate-income families. Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits to the communities served by its member institutions in the form of AHP grants.

In 2010, FHLB Dallas awarded $18.5 million in AHP grants through member institutions, like Community Trust Bank, including more than $2.2 million in Louisiana, to support 284 housing units within the state.  FHLB Dallas awarded three AHP grants totaling nearly $600,000 through Community Trust Bank in 2010. In 2011, FHLB Dallas offered $10.5 million in AHP grants through its member institutions. Grant recipients will be announced this summer.

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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