Philadelphia, December 20, 2019 – This week, the House and Senate cleared the fiscal year 2020 spending bills. The legislative packages include increased investment in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). HFFI is administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas. The bills now await the President’s signature. In response, Reinvestment Fund shared the following statement:
“We applaud members of the Appropriations Committee and our leaders in Congress for securing funding for HFFI during fiscal year 2020. The expansion of this crucial initiative and Congressional confidence in the program are welcomed by long-time advocates who have been working to ensure access to healthy, affordable food to communities across the country.
HFFI received $5 million in discretionary support, more than doubling the previous year’s appropriations. The bill is a recognition that healthy food access and investment in equitable food systems are important priorities for the nation. We look forward to working with stakeholders on expanding the program in FY 2020 and beyond.”
HFFI continues to be an effective model of addressing the limited and inequitable access to healthy foods in lower-income communities across America. HFFI uses public dollars to attract private investment in order to provide communities with financial support for food retailers, farmers’ markets, food cooperatives and other entrepreneurs who face barriers to distributing, manufacturing, carrying and selling affordable and healthy foods. HFFI helps to create jobs, support small businesses, stimulate local economies and improve health outcomes and quality of life for families and children.
Currently, HFFI offers a targeted small grants program and technical assistance program. In 2019, Reinvestment Fund awarded a total of $1.4 million in financial assistance to 10 projects and a total of $400,000 in technical assistance support to 13 projects through HFFI.