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New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund

In 2006, New York City public officials, including Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, began a concerted effort to improve access to healthy foods in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. This investigation highlighted the need for statewide intervention and the creation of task force, funded by the Friedman Foundation and convened by New York City’s Food Policy Coordinator, the Food Bank of New York City, the New York City Council, the Food Industry Alliance of New York, and The Food Trust, to address the barriers to supermarket and other fresh food retail development in underserved communities across New York State. As a result, the New York Supermarket Commission created a set of policy recommendations to incentivize healthy food retail investment in these areas, including the recommendation that a statewide grocery financing program be created. In response to the recommendations of the New York Supermarket Commission, Governor Paterson launched the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund in 2010, a $30-million business financing program to encourage supermarket and other fresh food retail investment in underserved areas throughout the state. 

The program provides grants and loans made available through a revolving loan fund to eligible projects. The initiative includes a $10-million commitment from the state’s Empire State Development Corporation and a $20-million commitment from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The Low Income Investment Fund is the lead administrator for the fund and is partnering with The Reinvestment Fund and The Food Trust to implement the program.

The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund has thus far provided $6.24 million ($4.86 million in loans and $1.38 million in grants) to eight healthy food retail projects (6 traditional grocery stores, 1 mobile market, and 1 regional farmers market) aimed at improving access to nutritious food for approximately 24,000 people in underserved communities in New York State.  The eight projects receiving HFHC funding so far are spread across New York towns and cities, including Mount Vernon, Highland Falls, Conklin, Buffalo, Red Creek, Binghamton, and in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, which also received tax incentives through the FRESH (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) Program. The Fund’s investments have so far supported 67,500 square feet of new, improved, or preserved food retail space and created or preserved more than 200 full-time jobs and over 100 construction jobs. 

The Low Income Investment Fund is actively underwriting several projects and continuing to accept applications for projects across New York State. For more information on the program go to the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund.

New York City FRESH Program

In New York City, the Bloomberg administration acted on the New York Supermarket Commission's recommendations by creating the FRESH Program (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) to encourage healthy food retail development in underserved areas throughout the city. Launched in summer 2010, the FRESH Program (1) provides tax incentives to healthy food retailers, (2) creates incentives in the zoning code for real estate developments that incorporate healthy food, and (3) creates a single point of access for supermarket operators to interface with city government. Click here to learn more about the FRESH Program.

 

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