The Fort Worth Healthy Food Financing Initiative (FWHFFI) is an innovative approach aimed at increasing fresh food options and providing job opportunities in underserved communities in the City of Fort Worth. It is a partnership between the City of Fort Worth and PeopleFund, which is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and nonprofit organization that improves underserved communities by providing small business loans as well as business assistance and education to people with otherwise limited access to such resources. The FWHFFI will provide forgivable and low interest rate loans to support grocery development in areas of the City with low supermarket density or below average grocery sales and where at least 51% of the households are low- to moderate-income. The City will provide an initial investment of $50,000.00 in public funds to serve as an interest rate buy down for $500,000.00 in privately financed loans that PeopleFund will provide. The City's grant funds will reduce the average interest rate on an FWHFFI loan by 2.5%, which will save borrowers in the program a total of over $105,000.00 in interest.
Funds will be used to support the creation, rehabilitation, or expansion of grocery or convenience stores, farmer's markets or other food retailers that can demonstrate that a significant amount of the applicant's shelf space will be dedicated to the sale of fresh fruit and vegetables. Additional eligible uses for the loan funds include pre-development, site assembly and infrastructure improvement, the purchase and installation of equipment and interior furnishings; staff training, security, and inventory and working capital for initial start-up costs.
The funding source for this grant will be lease revenues received by the City under its lease to the downtown Hilton Fort Worth Hotel (City Secretary Contract No. 11085, as amended and assigned) of the adjacent underground parking garage, which is owned by the City and was constructed using UDAG funds received from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), pursuant to a 1979 Grant Agreement (City Secretary Contract No. 10610). The UDAG Grant is closed out and therefore these funds are considered to be "miscellaneous revenue". The project sites will be located in Community Development Block Grant-eligible census tracts, which qualifies the project for the use of UDAG miscellaneous revenue.
Staff has reviewed the project and has determined that it meets federal requirements for use of UDAG miscellaneous revenue. Staff recommends executing a $50,000.00 contract with PeopleFund, on the following terms:
• Term of the Contract will be one year with one one-year extension;
• Funds may only be used to support the creation, rehabilitation, or expansion of grocery or
convenience stores, farmer's markets, mobile markets, or other food retailers in areas of the City
with low supermarket density or below average grocery sales and where at least 51% of the
households are low- to moderate-income;
• Funds may only be used to support grocers or other food retailers that can demonstrate that
a significant amount of the applicant's shelf space will be dedicated to the sale of fresh fruit
• PeopleFund will coordinate with Councilmembers in target areas to identify opportunities
for investment/assistance and market the assistance that can be provided; and
• PeopleFund will provide a comprehensive outreach and marketing plan that will
detail strategies for reaching out to various constituencies including neighborhood
organizations, business advocacy organizations (e.g., Fort Worth Black Chamber,
Hispanic Chamber, etc.) and other population segments and potential clientele that would
benefit from the program within 30 days of contract finalization.
The project loan funds will be offered city-wide.