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December 17, 2015


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

University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies Awarded $140K Grant

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, December 17, 2015 – The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies in Hattiesburg has been awarded a $140,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from BankPlus and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). The funds will be distributed to 14 elderly and/or disabled, first-time homebuyers to assist with down payments, closing costs, and principal reductions. 

"The USM Institute for Disability Studies is an excellent organization with a proven track record," said Mark Ouellette, first vice president and director of Affordable Housing at BankPlus. "We have worked with them for many years, and together, we have had the privilege of contributing much-needed affordable housing to our communities."

FHLB Dallas annually returns 10 percent of its profits in the form of AHP grants to the communities served by its member institutions. AHP grants fund a variety of projects, including home rehabilitation and modifications for low-income, elderly, and special needs residents; down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified first-time homebuyers; and the construction of low-income, multifamily rental communities and single-family homes. 

Since the AHP's creation in 1990, BankPlus and FHLB Dallas have awarded four AHP grants to the USM Institute for Disability Studies. In that time, all FHLB Dallas members in Mississippi have been awarded more than $37.8 million in competitive AHP grants. In the Jackson area, the positive impact of the AHP can be seen in 50 affordable housing projects that have received more than $10.4 million in funding since 1990.

This year's AHP award coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disabilities.

A 2015 study by United Cerebral Palsy, titled "The Case for Inclusion." ranked state Medicaid programs on services to learning and developmentally disabled Americans. Mississippi ranked lowest in the subcategories of 'promoting independence' and 'keeping families together.'

Heather Steele, associate coordinator of Housing Services at the USM Institute for Disability Studies, said the affordable housing created through the AHP will help to promote the independence and family housing so needed in the Magnolia State.

"Many Mississippians with disabilities, their families, children, and the elderly have significant life needs," Ms. Steele said. "Our organization advocates for the empowerment of people with disabilities and their families to reach their individualized dream of owning and maintaining their own homes."

The USM Institute for Disability Studies' website summarizes its work to meets its "federal mission to enhance the quality of life across the life span for citizens with disabilities and their families, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background."

Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, said the partnerships supporting affordable housing help new housing to open and keep families together.

"FHLB Dallas is honored to work for the betterment of our members' communities through the AHP and other grant programs," Mr. Hettrick said. "We could not do it without our members' inspiring commitment to affordable housing. We appreciate BankPlus for its efforts on behalf of all Mississippians."

July 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Affordable Housing Program. Since the program's inception, FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $237 million in AHP grants to help approximately 44,000 families obtain affordable, quality housing. 

About BankPlus

BankPlus, with total assets of more than $2.5 billion, has more than 60 locations in 34 Mississippi communities. BankPlus offices are located in Belzoni, Bentonia, Brandon, Byram, Canton, Clinton, D'Iberville, Durant, Flora, Flowood, Gluckstadt, Hernando, Holly Bluff, Horn Lake, Isola, Jackson, Lexington, Madison, Meridian, Newton, Olive Branch, Pearl, Picayune, Pickens, Poplarville, Quitman, Ridgeland, Shubuta, Southaven, Stonewall, Tchula, Tupelo, Waynesboro and Yazoo City. For additional information on BankPlus, please visit

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank system created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $43.0 billion as of September 30, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit