Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of up to $10 million in funding support for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Under the Community and Economic Development program (CED), HHS will provide funding to Community Development Corporations for projects located in low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food. The funding is designed to eliminate these “food deserts”   and improve access to healthy affordable foods by developing grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, and farmers markets in these areas.  In many communities, not having  access to healthy food options not only has significant impacts on the health of individuals and families who live there but also cuts community members off from important economic benefits that local grocery stores and markets could bring such as employment.  Applicants are expected to implement innovative strategies for revitalizing communities by connecting the elimination of food deserts with sustainable employment and business opportunities for low-income individuals.

As mentioned previously on our blog, the HFFI represents the first time the Federal government has coordinated its efforts to improve access to healthy and nutritious foods in low-income neighborhoods. Together, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Health and Human Services created the Healthy Food Financing Working Group (Working Group) to begin to develop strategies to eliminate food deserts in the U.S. In addition to the CED program, the HFFI includes: The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program within the Treasury and several USDA programs, including the Business and Industry (B&I) Program and the Intermediary Re-lending Program (IRP).  Through coordination across agencies, the HFFI is intended to more effectively support comprehensive community development strategies that promote both the health and economic  vitality of neighborhoods.

Eligible applicants for the CED program must meet three conditions: (1) applicant must be  private, non-profit CDC with 501(c) (3) or non-501(c)(3) status; (2) applicant must have articles of incorporation, bylaws, or other official documents demonstrating that the CDC has a principal purpose of planning, developing, or managing low-income housing or community development activities; and (3) the Board of Directors must have representation from community residents, business leaders, and civic leaders.

Communities are encouraged to listen in on the webinar for prospective applicants on May 27, 2011 at 2PM EST. Applicants may register here. The application is due July 11, 2011.

PolicyforResults.org, USDA Unveils New Food Desert Locator 
The Department of Health and Human Services, About the Healthy Food Financing Initiative  
Grants.gov, Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Community Economic Development Program

1 comment:

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