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Equidad Express

A coordinated, strategic, connected, regular mobile system of providers serving basic needs of Eastern Crescent residents.

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Solution: A coordinated, strategic mobile ecosystem serving Austin's Eastern Crescent neighborhood.

The Why?

  • Lack of access to basic/critical services in many Eastern Crescent (EC)neighborhoods.
  • Mobility challenges for many EC residents.
  • Timeline to build brick and mortar service centers puts current residents at risk re health, literacy, nutrition, and financial agility.
  • Short-term, temporary and cost efficient solutions are available to bridge the timeline.

The What?  Mobile Ecosystem

  • Mobile Grocery Store (Converted Cap Metro bus) (comprehensive grocery supplies+, e.g., fruits, veggies, meats, poultry, dairy, dry goods, diapers, hygiene products, recipes, cooking demonstrations)
  • Mobile Health Clinic (whole-body health services, e.g., physical and mental health; and pediatrics )
  • Mobile Dental Clinic
  • Mobile Breast Cancer Screening
  • Mobile Health and Human Services Center
  • Mobile Library
  • Mobile Financial Literacy  Center
  • Mobile Workforce Development 

The How? The When?  

  • Coordinated, connected, regular
  • Strategic services depending on unique needs of neighborhood.
  • Frequency --depending on unique needs of neighborhood; but envision weekly for many services.
  • Simultaneously scheduled 3-hour time blocks.

The Where?

  • Strategic locations throughout EC, e.g.,  Colony Park, Dove Springs, Del Valle, Creedmoor and Rundberg.

More How

Payment Options for Mobile Grocery Store

  • Sliding scale based on income
  • Cash
  • Credit/Debit
  • WIC / SNAP
  • Double Dollars for fruits and veggies

The Who?

Strategic Partners (including interested service providers to date)

  • Cap Metro
  • Central Texas Food  Bank
  • Farmshare Austin
  • Urban Roots
  • City of Austin – Office of Sustainability
  • Texas Capital Bank
  • Central Health
  • CommUnityCare
  • Integral Care
  • Austin Public Health
  • Travis County Health and Human Services
  • UT Dell Medical School
  • St. David’s Foundation
  • Austin Public Library (Austin Bookmobile)
  • Colony Park Neighborhood Association
  • Colony Park/Lakeside Community Development Corporation
  • Greater Austin Coalition of Community Schools
  • Gensler Architects
  • United Way of Central Texas
  • Kitchen Sync

Potential Recipients

  • The 412,000 residents of the EC.  Please see response  to the question "Describe who will use your solution" for further description of the potential recipients. 

Additional Benefits,  Information and Opportunities

  • Providers will be able to refer to each other.  For example, a pediatrician in the mobile clinic may refer  parents to the mobile library to get supplemental information about their child's asthma. Likewise, a physician may write a prescription for fruits and vegetables and tasty recipes for a patient fighting diabetes. The patient can go next door to the mobile grocery store to fill the prescription. 
  • Job opportunities for neighborhood youth and adults.  We will proactively pursue jobs and internships for the residents with the various service providers, e.g., cashier or clerk on mobile grocery store, assistant on the mobile library, mechanic or maintenance intern for the mobile grocery store.
  • The mobile grocery store will be in the possession and control of the Central Texas Food Bank, which will also oversee the conversion of the bus from a Cap Metro into a mobile grocery store.
  • Enhanced learning opportunities for neighborhood youth via tutors and story tellers on the mobile library.

In summary, this solution involves basic needs providers serving in the same place, at the same time in a synergistic manner-- leveraging each other's areas of expertise and resources.  This collective model will allow providers to increase their impact without an equal amount of expenditure;  the 1 + 1 = 3 concept.  Greater effectiveness and greater efficiencies. 

Please see the attached PowerPoint on Equidad Express for visuals about the ecosystem, as well as information about Austin's 1928 Master Plan which forced Blacks and Hispanics (Latinx) to move east of now IH-35  and its impact on the formation of food, financial services, health, and retail services deserts in the EC.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

The services of Equidad Express are targeted to residents of the Eastern Crescent (EC). Following are some key data points regarding the 412,000 EC residents: • 55% Latinx • 14% Black • 44% live below 200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) • 24% live below FPL • 40% of children live below 100% FPL • 66% of children live below 200% FPL • 79% students on Free & Reduced Lunch • 47% live in food desert • 32% on Medicaid • 25% uninsured • 23% Limited English Proficiency • 25% have a BA degree or higher • 25% have NO high school diploma Poverty creates barriers to health services, healthy food and other basic needs that are determinants of poor health outcomes. Until brick and mortar services are constructed, Equidad Express will bring coordinated primary, pediatric, mental health, dental and breast cancer screening services; library services; grocery services (including nonfood items, e.g., hygiene products and diapers); financial literacy services to to the EC residents.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Recently on two occasions Central Health, CommUnityCare, Central Texas Food Bank, and Texas Capital Bank jointly provided their mobile services to the residents of Colony Park (August) and Creedmoor areas (October). The three units parked next to each other and provided coordinated primary and preventive care, financial literacy services, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The number served almost tripled the number from when working solo; validating the concept of the mobile ecosystem.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Equidad, a non-profit formed in 2018, serves as a catalyst for strategic partnerships to accelerate equitable, sustainable, and transformative neighborhood revitalization; and disrupt the structural cycle of generational poverty. Equidad, Spanish for “equity”, was chosen to emphasize the urgency to overcome the legacy of segregation, discrimination and systemic inequities in Austin's "Eastern Crescent". Our primary tools: mixed-income housing; world-class education; and community wellness.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

Initial Budget Estimate: -Conversion of Cap Metro bus into mobile grocery store: $120,000 -Operation and maintenance of mobile grocery store: $100,000/yr -Personnel, including project manager and part-time contract data analyst: $150,000/yr Should we receive the Austin Challenge funds, we will apply a portion to the bus conversion and some to the part-time contract analyst.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

During the pilot phase: • We increase the current number of participating service providers— CommUnityCare, Central Texas Food Bank, and Texas Capital Bank—to include at least the Austin Book Mobile, the St. David’s Foundation Dental Van, and the mobile breast cancer screening unit. • We will commence engagement of the part-time data analyst to create a baseline of data measurements to gauge against future outcomes. Austin Challenge funds will assist with this engagement; and the demographers from Central Health, City of Austin and Travis County will provide in-kind assistance. • We will proceed with the design phase of the mobile grocery store. Gensler Architects will contribute in-kind services for this phase. We will also commence the bus conversion. Austin Challenge funds will assist with this phase. • We will work with strategic partners, including EC residents to draft and map a strategic schedule of services. • Equidad staff will assist with each of the preceding steps.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

From some of our strategic partners, such as Travis County, the City of Austin, Central Health and CommUnityCare, including the Community Health Needs Assessment, we have some base line data on the health and wellness, educational, economic status, and other information about the Eastern Crescent (EC) residents; and the presence or lack thereof of health and wellness, educational, economic and other resources in the EC. Our contract data analyst will record the relevant baseline data at the inception of the pilot and measure it every quarter thereafter to assess the impact of the mobile ecosystem not only on the health and wellness and other outcomes of the residents, but also the efficiency of the service providers. Before and after data points will include, whether the resident has a medical home, incidents of pediatric asthmatic attacks, bad mental health days, access to nutritious foods, obesity rates, and chronic disease rates and attacks.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Yes, Equidad Express can be sustained after the pilot year. Key strategic partners are working with Equidad to create a five-year on ramp. Funding sources include philanthropy, grants, self-funding from certain providers, and in-kind services from some strategic partners. Revenue from the mobile grocery services will contribute to the grocery store's overhead. Already, a couple of funding sources, attracted to the innovation and high potential impact have invited us to apply for funding.

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Attachments (2)

Equidad Express Mobile Ecosystem 09.30.19 v.6.pptx

The attached is a PowerPoint presentation about Equidad Express. Along with visuals and a summary of the solution, it also provides a brief description of the one of the major causes of the problem- an urban desert -that the mobile ecosystem addresses.

Equidad ATX Intoduction 10pp 022119.pdf

The attached document is an introduction to Equidad ATX, the originator of Equidad Express. It provides information about our purpose, vision, values, foundational model, 2019 work plan, and board of directors.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lourdes  Rodriguez

This is a new application of an old concept: mobile mercados. More importantly, though, is that the team is not foreign to the community. They are locals, problem solving at the local level.

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