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Austin City Council commits up to $500,000 on food equity in eastern crescent

The goal is to make healthy options affordable and bring them closer to people's homes.

AUSTIN, Texas — While some parts of Austin are booming, other parts are being left behind. That’s why the Austin City Council is giving up to $500,000 in an effort to build an affordable grocery store, or stores, in areas of Austin's eastern crescent. 

Del Valle resident Crystal Simpson is a regular at the UT Social Resource Center, which is a place where she can get free meals. Simpson has lived in the eastern crescent for most of her life. She said the nearest grocery store is nine miles away. 

“If I have gas or I don’t have gas, I’ll always have to find somebody to get me a little bit of helpings to get to the store," Simpson said.

People like Simpson are why service organization WorkingGroup 512’s founder Chivas Watson helps bring meals to thousands of people in the area. 

“There's no grocery store for everyday working people, for poor people, for native people,” said Watson. 

That’s why the city council has chosen the eastern crescent for this project. Groups like Go Austin/Vamos Austin and the Austin Cooperative Business Association will be working on researching what areas need the help most. 

“For this project, we are leaving it open. We do not know if it’s going to be a co-op. It could be a nonprofit that’s community managed,” said Drew De Los Santos with the Austin Cooperative Business Association 

For the next 18 months, that’s what they’ll be figuring out. The goal is to make healthy options affordable and bring them closer to people's homes.

“We need to get an H-E-B or Walmart up here in Del Valle so we won’t have to go so far,” said Simpson. 

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