updated 6/14/2011 4:18:24 PM ET 2011-06-14T20:18:24

CAMDEN, Miss., June 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and BancorpSouth are pleased to announce they have awarded a $175,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to Sacred Heart Catholic Mission. The funds will provide emergency repairs and modifications for 25 elderly and disabled homeowners living in Northeast Madison County, Mississippi. This is the second grant awarded to Sacred Heart Catholic Mission, which received an $80,000 AHP grant in 2009.

Sacred Heart's home rehabilitation program is in its second year of operation, using AHP grants to provide qualified families with emergency home repairs such as new roofs, flooring, windows and insulation, as well as electrical and plumbing repair, and handicap accessibility.  

"Northeast Madison County is a very poor rural region, and many of the people we assist live on household incomes of less than 30 percent of the area median income," said Sister Donna Gunn, coordinator of special projects at Sacred Heart. "The AHP grant greatly helps us improve the quality of life for the people who seek our help. We are able to improve the safety and livability of their home so they do not have to move or live in substandard conditions."

Many homes qualify for repair by Sacred Heart because they do not meet standard code requirements, and threaten the safety of the families. Sister Donna stated that many of the homes do not have running water and have floors that are caving in, decaying roofs, or rooms that are inaccessible for disabled or handicapped residents. 

"It is imperative that we continue to address this need within our community," said Sister Donna. "We have just finished our twentieth home with the second AHP grant, and we hope to complete all 25 homes by July. We want to enhance the lives of those in need so that all people can live with dignity."

Sister Donna helps facilitate the home rehabilitation program and applied for the second AHP grant because of the great success of the program's first year.  She has already submitted an application for a third grant, and hopes to continue the program as long as funding is available.

"Rural areas tend to be overlooked in a sense," said Evelyn Edwards, vice president of community reinvestment for BancorpSouth, which has been a valued partner of Sacred Heart for many years. "In the Camden community, where Sacred Heart is located, you have elderly people who own homes, but can't maintain or upgrade them to meet their needs. The AHP grants help facilitate Sacred Heart's home rehabilitation program so that these homes can be brought up to safe and livable conditions."

The Sacred Heart Catholic Mission is a nonprofit organization, and an apostolate of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, a congregation of Catholic priests and brothers. The organization serves 2,000 community residents annually through its programs, including its home repair program, food pantry, after school program, and summer enrichment programs for children, among others.

About the Affordable Housing Program

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 BancorpSouth. 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.

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.

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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