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Louisiana Launches Program to Expand Fresh Food Access

A Louisiana program is offering $800,000 in financing to supermarkets and grocery stories in underserved communities affected by Gustav and Ike.

Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana in August 2008. Hurricane Ike hit the following month, in September 2008.

The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the State of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development. The Healthy Food Retail Program will provide flexible financing to enable operators to open, renovate, or expand retail outlets that sell healthy food.

The Healthy Food Retail Program was established by the Louisiana Legislature in 2009 to increase access to affordable, healthy food to improve diets and health; to promote the sale and consumption of Louisiana-grown fresh fruits and vegetables; and to support expanded economic opportunities in low-income and rural communities.

Eligible projects include grocery chains, individual grocery stores, neighborhood stores, co-ops and other food retail projects such as farmers markets and food hubs. The program funds will be used to help vendors purchase furnishings to increase the inventory and sale of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as provide for equipment installations and upgrades.

Who Can Apply?

For qualifying applicants, the program provides flexible, customized financing for costs associated with opening or expanding businesses that bring healthy groceries to Louisiana residents in parishes affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The amount and type of loan depends on the project’s size, the borrower’s need, and the expected impact.

Eligible applicants:

Grocery stores
Corner stores
Food co-ops that are open to the public
Farmers markets and mobile markets
Food hubs
Real estate developers that will lease space to a grocery retail tenant

For an application and more information, please visit our Healthy Food Financing webpage at www.hopecu.org/hfrp. You can also contact Kathy C. Saloy at HOPE at 504-585-2860 or hfrp@hopecu.org.

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