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Source: Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

Photo Release -- Construction Begins on Apartments for Homeless Veterans in Biloxi, MS

BILOXI, Miss., March 12, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Officials broke ground today on an apartment complex in Biloxi, Mississippi, that will serve disabled, homeless veterans.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=24107

HomePort II, the second phase of a project completed on the same site in December 2012, will have a total of six units to house disabled, homeless veterans. Representatives from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and The Peoples Bank attended the groundbreaking today. The entities awarded Back Bay Mission a $60,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant in 2013 to assist with the project's construction costs.

"The men and women who will be served by this development risked their lives defending our freedoms, and we are honored to help fund a project that will provide them with access to affordable apartments," said Bre Chapman, FHLB Dallas senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

The event was also attended by City of Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway, Biloxi City Councilman Felix Gines, and City of Gulfport Public Information Officer Chris Vines, and the developer of the project – Gulf Coast Housing Initiative.

The local housing authority is providing a federal veteran's housing voucher toward the rent. Veterans living at the complex will pay 30 percent of their income toward rent and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers will pay the remainder. If a veteran has no income, he or she will pay only $50 per month toward rent.

All units will be one-bedroom units with 633 square feet of living space. A wheelchair ramp will be installed for accessibility to the units. The apartment units will be completely furnished. Appliances include a refrigerator, stove, microwave, washer, and dryer.

Everett Lewis, associate for housing initiatives at Back Bay Mission, said the AHP grant fills a funding gap for the $556,000 project.

"It allows us to move forward on the project," Mr. Lewis said. "Without it, we would have had to fill that gap in the funding with some other means, possibly debt or raising funds from another source. We've done a pretty good job of raising private funds from individuals, churches, and community groups, but to raise an additional $60,000 would have been a daunting task. It definitely would have delayed the project."

Back Bay Mission has a long history in Biloxi that dates to 1922. It provides a variety of community services but focuses primarily on residents with very low incomes. Its Home At Last program, which provides apartments for clients while helping them learn skills to become self sufficient, operates 17 supportive housing units and provides outreach to more than 1,000 homeless individuals each year.

Mr. Lewis said construction will take about nine months, with the apartment complex opening in fall 2014.

Chevis Swetman, president of The Peoples Bank, said Back Bay Mission has been a source of hope for one of the region's most vulnerable populations.

"Not many nonprofits have that sort of staying power," said Mr. Swetman. "It's been a pleasure for The Peoples Bank to work with a mission organization that shows compassion and provides innovative solutions to address the economic hardships faced by residents in the Mississippi region."

AHP grants are awarded through FHLB Dallas member financial institutions, such as The Peoples Bank, to assist in the development of affordable owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income households. In 2013, FHLB Dallas awarded $11.3 million in AHP funding to 36 projects across its five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. The funding will result in the creation or rehabilitation of 1,654 housing units across the District.

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 $30.2 billion as of December 31, 2013 is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 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 photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

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