Healthy Food Financing Initiative Announces Availability of $1.8 Million in Financial and Technical Assistance
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Reinvestment Fund is inviting applications for financial and technical assistance through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative's (HFFI) inaugural grants program. Funding for the HFFI grants program is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. As the National Fund Manager, Reinvestment Fund will offer financial resources and expertise to eligible healthy food retail projects to expand access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities.
"Reinvestment Fund is honored to work with the USDA to launch this opportunity to stimulate healthy food retail development in low-income and underserved communities across the country," said Don Hinkle-Brown, CEO of Reinvestment Fund. "Too many Americans live in communities without equitable access to healthy food. We look forward to partnering with the USDA to invest in healthy food projects that improve access, support jobs and strengthen local economies."
Congress included $1 million in each of Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018 budgets to launch the HFFI grants program at USDA. Financial and technical assistance from HFFI will support activities that improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, create and preserve quality jobs and revitalize low-income communities. To be eligible for assistance, healthy food retail projects must: 1) plan to expand or preserve the availability of staple and perishable foods in underserved areas with low and moderate-income populations; and 2) accepts or plans to accept benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).
Healthy food retailers are at the heart of communities across the country and play a crucial role in connecting consumers to producers. The USDA recognizes the importance of supporting healthy food retail projects and is working with Reinvestment Fund to launch HFFI with this program dedicated to strengthening a critical component of community infrastructure.
Financial assistance awards are available through a competitive application process to eligible fresh food retailers to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas. The program aims to support innovations in fresh food retail and could assist projects with a variety of aspects of store development, renovation, and expansion, including predevelopment and store improvements. Technical assistance awards will provide selected projects with managerial, financial or operational consultation, as well as marketing and feasibility studies. Technical assistance is available for early stage work where resources would help clarify and support the development of a healthy food access project in an underserved area.
Now an initiative of USDA Rural Development, HFFI has also been supported at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2010, HFFI has helped leverage more than $220 million in grants and an estimated $1 billion in additional financing. It has also supported nearly 1,000 grocery and other healthy food retail projects in more than 35 states across the country, revitalizing economies, creating jobs, and improving health.
A Request for Assistance (RFA) application and additional information is available through www.investinginfood.com. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is February 14, 2019.
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a catalyst for change in low-income communities. It integrates data, policy and strategic investments to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods. Using analytical and financial tools, we bring high-quality grocery stores, affordable housing, schools and health centers to the communities that need better access—creating anchors that attract investment over the long term and help families lead healthier, more productive lives. Beginning with the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) in 2004, Reinvestment Fund has developed a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to improving the food landscape for low-income people. Since that time, it has provided $300 million in grants and loans to healthy food projects. Reinvestment Fund also founded and manages ReFresh, a capacity-building initiative that is composed of CDFI partners nationally, who are among the largest national practitioners in healthy food financing.