Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Expands Its Services With Assistance From FHLB Dallas and BancorpSouth

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

HATTIESBURG, Miss., June 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources will construct a 24-unit apartment community with assistance from a $168,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant awarded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and BancorpSouth Bank. The apartments will be located at Oak Arbor Transitional Living and will provide extended services to homeless veterans battling substance abuse and mental illness.

Ground has broken for the new 13,325-square-foot apartment community in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and construction is expected to begin by July 2011. With an aggressive timeline, officials at Pine Belt Mental Health hope to have residents moving in by this October.

"The new apartments will allow us to expand our secondary services so that residents can stay longer on our campus," said Joel Downey, housing specialist at Pine Belt. "With the current war lasting so long, we have seen an influx of veterans return to our area that need special care regarding addiction, substance abuse, and mental illness. The apartments will provide a home for residents who have completed primary treatment but are not ready to re-enter society."

Oak Arbor works closely with the Clearview Recovery Center to address the needs of male and female veterans returning from the armed services. Once the patients complete primary care, they transition to Oak Arbor and will have the opportunity to move into the Oak Arbor Apartments, where residents will live independently but still under the supervision and care of the staff at Oak Arbor. Oak Arbor will provide safety, individual space, cleanliness, and help restore dignity to recovering veterans, but residents are subject to random searches and must abide by campus guidelines and restrictions. Oak Arbor's goal is to provide extended care and supervision to recovering veterans so that when they re-enter society, they are happy and productive individuals.

Oak Arbor and Clearview Recovery Center are subsidiaries of Pine Belt Mental Health and are located in the Hattiesburg area.

"Oak Arbor Apartments is the first of its kind in our area," said Stacy Thompson, CRA coordinator at BancorpSouth in Hattiesburg. Ms. Thompson helped facilitate the AHP grant through FHLB Dallas for Pine Belt Mental Health and said the project will make a tremendous difference in the options that local veterans have to find mental and physical rehabilitation in Forrest County.

"Pine Belt Mental Health is a very well-established organization in our community," continued Ms. Thompson. "Hattiesburg has limited resources to assist veterans in need. Many come back from service and end up homeless and on the streets. Oak Arbor provides veterans a place to go and recover, and this new apartment community will give them a clean and safe place to live as they continue their rehab. This is an extraordinary project for our community, and Pine Belt Mental Health is a well-organized and finely-tuned institution. BancorpSouth is happy to take part in their endeavors."

The proposed apartments will offer residents 1,024 square feet of living space. Each unit includes a full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and one bathroom. The complex also features a laundry facility, a general group meeting room, and full handicap accessibility.

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

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