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Improving Access to Healthy Food

For FY 2013, the Community Economic Development (CED) program at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $9.4 million to 14 CDCs and the Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund made $22.3 million in grants to ten CDFIs for a broad range of HFFI projects. The 24 grantees will invest in grocery stores, food hubs, urban farms, mobile farmers’ markets and other community projects that will improve access to healthy food, create jobs, and revitalize economically distressed urban and rural communities. For summaries of HFFI projects funded by HHS click here. The CDFI’s Fund description of HFFI program awards can be found here. In 2012, $32 million was distributed to grantees across the country with $10 million through the CED program and $22 million through CDFI fund. In 2011 agencies were able to use existing authority and resources to provide $45 million for HFFI projects in 2011.

The three agencies, Treasury, Health and Human Services, and USDA, have released a joint website demonstrating their ongoing commitment to increasing access to healthy food in underserved communities across the nation. The website (see here) lists nineteen programs across the three agencies that are available to "support the development of sustainable projects and strategies to increase access to healthy, affordable foods and eliminate food deserts." The website provides information about these programs, and suggestions about how to form successful partnerships to apply for these funds.

President's FY 2013 and FY 2014 Budget

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget request includes $35 million to the U.S. Department of Treasury to improve access to healthy food in underserved communities while creating jobs and bringing in new supermarkets, co-ops, and other healthy food retail to anchor commercial corridors. The program supports Community Development Financial Institutions so they can offer affordable financing and technical assistance to expand the availability of healthy food options in distressed communities. To date the fiscal year 2013 budget is uncertain due to the across the board cuts, however we are hopeful the $35 million for HFFI will be fully allocated through Treasury ($25 million) and HHS ($10 million). President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget requested $285 million for the HFFI through Treasury ($25 million) and HHS ($10 million) and a $250 million set-aside request within the broader $7 billion New Markets Tax Credit program for HFFI. The budget also calls for the USDA to target additional resources toward the overall goals of combating food deserts and increasing access to healthy food. The fiscal cliff bill signed in early 2013 includes a two-year (2012 and 2013) extension of New Markets Tax Credit.

NOFAs FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013

The Department of the Treasury released a NOFA for HFFI projects and other efforts to improve access to healthy food.

  • The Department of Treasury released a NOFA for FY2014 funds to apply for financial assistance with up to $35 million for Healthy Food Financing Initiative Financial Assistance awards. See here for the NOFA.

In 2013, The Department of Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services released NOFAS for HFFI projects and other efforts to improve access to healthy food.

  • The Department of Treasury released a NOFA for FY 2013 funds to apply for financial and technical assistance with up to $23 million available for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Applications were due February 28, 2013. See here for the NOFA. Grantees were announced in September 2013. See here for a list of FY13 CDFI HFFI grantees.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services released the 2013 NOFA for HFFI-related grants providing up to $10 million for projects located in food deserts and designed to improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Applications are due July 2, 2013. See here for the NOFA. See here for a list of FY13 CED HFFI grantees.

In 2012, all three agencies released NOFAs for HFFI projects and other efforts to improve access to healthy food.

  • The Department of Treasury released a NOFA for 2012 funds for CDFIs to apply for financial and technical assistance providing up to $22 million. Applications were due January 11, 2012; click here for the 2012 NOFA. Click here for a list of FY 2012 CDFI HFFI grantees.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services released the 2012 NOFA for HFFI-related grants providing up to $10 million for projects located in food deserts and designed to improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Applications were due June 5, 2012; click here for application details; click here for a list of FY 2012 HHS CED grantees.
  • The USDA released the 2012 NOFA for projects such as farmers' markets, community supported agriculture, and road-side stands, and will prioritize projects that expand healthy food choices in food deserts or low-income areas. Applications were due May 21, 2012; click here for application details.

In 2011, all three agencies released NOFAs for HFFI projects and other efforts to improve access to healthy food

  • The Department of Treasury released a NOFA for $25 million to be used for HFFI Financial Assistance awards 2011 funds for CDFIs for up $25 million. Click here for application details.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services released a NOFA for up to $10 million in grants to Community Development Corporations for Healthy Food Financing Initiative projects. Click here for application details.

The Department of Agriculture released a NOFA for $10 million through the Farmers' Market Promotion Program. Click here for program details.

State and City HFFI Efforts

Efforts are underway in several states and cities to replicate the successful Pennsylvania FFFI program. Legislation has been passed and/or projects are underway in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. See here for more details.

For information on California efforts, see the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative and the California FreshWorks Fund.