February 18, 2015
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a modified Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for fiscal year (FY) 2015, updated from last year’s announcement for Community Development Corporations (CDCs) under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI).
HFFI is a tri-agency program administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury, HHS, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the availability of healthy food in low to moderate-income under-served communities (rural, urban, and suburban) through the creation, expansion, and equipping of healthy food retail outlets such as grocery stores, corner stores, and farmers markets.
Healthy Food Financing at HHS
Administered by the Office of Community Services (OCS) within the Administration for Children and Families at HHS, this competitive grant program for CDCs, known as the Community Economic Development-Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CED-HFFI), seeks to fund projects that increase healthy food access in low-income communities and foster self-sufficiency for low-income families by creating sustained employment opportunities in low-income communities.
Like last year, a total of $9.5 million is available, with a maximum award amount of $800,000 per project. No match is required for this grant program. Examples of OCS HFFI-funded projects include financing the construction of grocery stores, providing direct assistance to farmers, supporting urban and rural farmers markets and retail markets, expanding existing food distribution businesses, and supporting food business entrepreneurs.
Projects funded with CED-HFFI funds can be non-construction or construction projects. For non-construction projects, the grant period is 3 years. For construction projects, the grant period is 5 years. Funds can be used for costs associated with either business start-up or business expansion activities and must work to serve a food desert and create a minimum number of jobs based on a formula provided in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Incubator development is permitted, so long as the focus of the incubator is healthy food, demonstrates substantial and specific job creation for low-income individuals, and is located in a geographic location within the community. Funds can also be used to provide loans to identified, viable participating businesses, and/or as an equity or stock investment.
Project Priorities and Proposal Deadlines
Bonus points are available for projects that:
The deadline for applications is April 24, 2015.
Similar to last year, this year’s announcement provides deadlines for future fiscal years, in this case for FY 2016. Applications may be submitted 60 days prior to the listed due dates.
Webinar and Frequently Asked Questions Resource
A webinar on the CED-HFFI Funding opportunity is scheduled for Thursday, February 19th from 2pm to 3:30pm ET. This webinar will present information about the CED-HFFI grant competition, outlining the program’s purposes and strategies, providing tips and tools for submitting an application for CED-HFFI funding, and identifying key application criteria and requirements.
To register, visit the Winter 2015 Webinar Series page.
To download the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers document about the CED-HFFI funding opportunity, go to the CED-HFFI Funding Opportunity Announcement Resource page for FY 2015.
If you have any questions about the 2015 CED-HFFI FOA, please email: OCSRegistrar@icfi.com.
HFFI and the Farm Bill
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized a Healthy Food Financing Initiative at USDA, modeled after existing HFFI programs at the Treasury and HHS, to expand access to healthy, fresh foods in low-income, under-served communities and create and retain local jobs. While the program was authorized in the farm bill, it will require an appropriation in the annual agriculture appropriations bill before being launched.
As mentioned in our blog post earlier this month, last year the President’s budget request asked for $13 million to start-up HFFI loan and grant activities within USDA, but Congress did not appropriate any funding in the FY 2015 appropriations package. The President’s FY 2016 budget renews the request, asking for $12.75 million for USDA’s HFFI. The new funding, if appropriated, would support market planning and promotion and infrastructure development to increase the availability of retail outlets in food deserts and increase the delivery of locally and regionally produced foods. USDA’s portion of the initiative would be administered through its Rural Development agency.