December 22, 2011
As we reported in an earlier blog post, in mid-December Congress passed a “megabus” appropriations bill that included FY 2012 appropriations funding for numerous departments including Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Included in this package is $32 million in funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. HFFI aims to fund food retail outlets in food deserts, which are low-income communities lacking access to healthy foods.
Of the FY 2012 funding for HFFI, $22 million will come through the Department of Treasury and the remaining $10 million through the Department of Health and Human Services.
The $22 million for the Department of Treasury will be awarded to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) who will in turn lend to retail food outlets expanding food access in food deserts. The appropriations bill reserves at least ten percent of the Treasury funds for efforts in “persistent poverty counties,” or counties “that [have] had 20 percent or more of [their] population living in poverty over the past 30 years” based on the 1990, 2000, and 2010 censuses.
The $10 million in funding for Health and Human Services will go through its Community Economic Development Program.
In September, the 2011 CDFI awardees of $25 million in funding for HFFI from FY 2011 funding were announced. Awards for $10 million from HHS in FY 2011 are still to be announced.