States with largest actual gains include Texas, California and Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, April 20, 2015—The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) announces the release of its 2014 update to the Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis. The release offers a look at the national landscape of access to healthy food and changes in the underserved population since 2005. The analysis is part of TRF’s extensive efforts to address the inadequate and inequitable access to healthy foods in communities across the country.
TRF is a leader in efforts to address this issue, with a three-pronged approach that includes financing, data analysis and capacity-building. In addition to providing over $200 million in financing to support healthy food access in the last decade alone, TRF has also been a pioneer in the use of data and analysis to understand access to healthy food, particularly in low-income communities.
According to TRF’s study, 20 million people (or 7% of the population) nationwide live in LSA areas, a decrease of over 16 million people (or 45%) from 2005, when 36 million people (or 12% of the population) lived in LSA areas. States with the largest actual gains in ensuring residents have adequate access to healthy foods include Texas, California, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. Washington, DC, Nebraska and Arizona are among states where LSA residents have shown very low rates of change between 2005 and 2013 in their ability to access healthy food.
Lack of access is particularly problematic in many low-income communities as well as communities of color. The study found that in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio, more than 50% of LSA area residents are also low-income. In Washington, DC, almost all LSA area residents are also low-income.
“Access to healthy food is very much about equity,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, CEO of TRF. “Low-income families should have the ability to easily find and afford healthy, nutritious food in their neighborhoods. Without equitable access, these families lose out on the opportunity to eat healthy.”
Communities without full-service grocery retailers also lose out on the benefits these businesses can bring: jobs and the development of other amenities and services nearby. For example, from 2004 to 2010, the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) approved funding for 88 fresh food retail projects and created or retained more than 5,000 jobs—while improving access to healthy food for more than 400,000 residents. The typical urban stores approved through FFFI ranged from 17,000 to 65,000 square feet. A large, full-service supermarket typically employed 150 to 200 full- and part-time employees and had weekly sales of $200,000 to $300,000.
This nationwide LSA data release follows a select release of data for five states in late January 2015. The selected release highlighted states served through ReFresh, TRF’s national initiative to improve access to healthy foods in urban and rural communities across the U.S. TRF launched this first of its kind CDFI capacity building initiative with a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. CDFIs that are part of ReFresh are the Finance Fund Capital Corporation, the Florida Community Loan Fund, the Northern California Community Loan Fund, the Colorado Enterprise Fund, Virginia Community Capital and Boston Community Capital.
Nationwide LSA data is currently available at www.policymap.com. Support for creating the LSA analytic was provided by the William Penn Foundation and JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
About The Reinvestment Fund
TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities, through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has made $1.5 billion in community investments since 1985. A Community Development Financial Institution, TRF finances a variety of projects and activities including food access, health care, education and housing, to build healthy communities in under-invested places. TRF also provides public policy expertise by helping clients create actionable solutions and by sharing data and analysis via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com. Follow TRF on Twitter @trfund or Facebook at facebook.com/TRFund.
Kavita Vijayan, 215-574-5893, firstname.lastname@example.org