Thanks to advocates like you, legislation was just introduced in the Texas House and Senate that would create a Texas Grocery Access Investment program. This investment would support business and create jobs. It also would bring grocery stores to communities where it is difficult to buy fresh and healthy food, help families be healthier and fight obesity, and ultimately drive down the costs associated with unhealthy living.
It’s critical that you ask Texas legislators for their support. We believe that everyone deserves the right to healthy food in their communities. If not for yourself, speak up today for the health of your more than 3.4 million fellow Texans who lack access to grocery stores. Ask House and Senate committee members who oversee this legislation to grow businesses and create jobs by supporting Texas Grocery Access Investment.
Texas Grocery Access Investment Act – Highlights
The Texas Grocery Access Investment Fund is a grant and loan program to bring new grocery stores to underserved communities, as well as support renovation and expansion of existing stores to ensure access to fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, poultry and seafood products.
This critical program aims to help healthy and affordable food retailers overcome the higher initial barriers to entry into low-income and underserved communities—barriers like land acquisition financing, construction and workforce development.
A modest, one-time public investment of $10 million for the 2016-17 biennium in the Texas Grocery Access Investment Fund would improve public health by providing access to healthy foods in order to reduce diet-related diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. This program is an investment in the economy of underserved areas since grocery stores create quality jobs and contribute to the revitalization of rural and urban communities.
Grocery Access Investment – How it Works
- The legislation would create the Texas Grocery Access Investment Program at the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).
- The program’s fund will be comprised of money appropriated by the Texas Legislature, as well as federal, state, or private grants or loans and/or any other financial assistance to be utilized for the construction, expansion or renovation of grocery stores to provide access to healthy foods in underserved areas.
- The agency would be able to contract with a non-profit or community development financial institution, which would administer the program, establish program guidelines, raise matching funds, promote the program statewide, evaluate applicants, underwrite and disburse grants and loans, and monitor compliance and impact.
- TDA will develop rules, regulations or other procedures to carry out the program. No more than 10% of the funds appropriated can be used by the agency for administrative and operational costs to manage the program.