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EL PASO COUNTY HEALTHY FOOD FINANCING INITIATIVE PROGRAM GUIDELINES

The El Paso County Healthy Food Financing Initiative (EPC HFFI) is a public-private partnership that offers grants and loans to businesses and non-profit organizations to support and accelerate the construction, establishment, rehabilitation, and/or expansion of food retail and food retail structure that will increase healthy food options for current underserved residents in El Paso County.

PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY. Applicants and projects should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Applicant must demonstrate a plan to:
    1. Open a new retail outlet or expand an existing small or disadvantaged food enterprise primarily selling healthy and affordable food items;
    2. improve an existing small or disadvantaged food enterprise’s ability to stock and sell a variety of healthy and affordable food that had previously been limited; or,
    3. develop a real estate project that will lease space to a grocery store tenant that meets the criteria under sections 1) or 2) above
  • Applicant may be for-profit or not-for-profit and may be (but is not limited to) one of the following: regional grocery chain, national grocery chain, singular grocery retail outlet, food hub, farmer’s market, mobile market other food retail models offering healthy and affordable food.
  • Applicant’s primary business activities must take place within El Paso County and be located in or predominantly serve residents of an area with below average supermarket density or below average grocery sales.
  • Projects must benefit low-to-moderate income residents in El Paso County:
    1. Applicant must operate from a location within a census tract or service area where at least 51% of persons or households are low-to-moderate income; or,
    2. Applicant must demonstrate its ability to create or retain permanent jobs, at least 51% of which will be made available to or held by persons categorized as low-to-moderate income
  • Retail applicants must demonstrate that at least 20% of current or future products sold or at least 30% of the food retail space will be used for the sale of healthy and affordable foods.

INELIGIBLE ENTITIES & ACTIVITIES: Ineligible entities include large department stores of which groceries are only one department, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, pharmacies with grocery sections, businesses with alcohol or tobacco sales as the primary source of revenue, and public entities.  EPC HFFI funds may not be used to refinance existing debt, pay tax arrearages or government fines, engage in political or religious activities, buy out any stockholder or equity holder in the borrower’s business, nor to purchase instruments or investments for the sole purpose of a return on investment.

ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES:

  • Pre-Development
  • Site Assembly & Rehabilitation
  • Equipment
  • Staffing
  • Staff Training
  • Security
  • Inventory & Working Capital
  • Marketing & Nutrition Education

HEALTHY & AFFORDABLE FOOD: Applicants should refer to the Texas WIC guidelines and Smart Foods Planner from Alliance for a Healthy Generation to determine which products to include in the healthy and affordable products reported in the EPC HFFI application. If the applicant believes that other products if offers or expects to offer should be included as healthy and affordable food, it may list those products separately.

TEXAS WIC APPROVED FOODS SHOPPING GUIDE

AREAS WITH GREATEST NEED: The areas with greatest need in El Paso County will be determined by the “Food for Every Child” report published in 2017 by Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living and The Food Trust. The areas with greatest need for more supermarkets and other healthy food retail outlets are areas with low supermarket sales, low income, and high incidences of diet-related deaths. Applicants should consider these areas priorities for EPC HFFI, though projects located outside of the areas with greatest need will also be considered.

FOOD FOR EVERY CHILD REPORT