Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 65
In 2011, California passed legislation that created a state version of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The state then
launched the California FreshWorks Fund (CAFWF) with private donors to help fund this effort. CAFWF has provided loan
and grant financing to grocery stores and other eligible initiatives seeking to increase access to healthy food. To date, CAFWF
has supported nearly 70 projects serving urban and rural communities across the state. Together, they have improved access to
healthy food for more than 800,000 Californians as well as creating or retaining 1,600 jobs.307
In 2014, Ohio stakeholders came together on a taskforce and recommended a statewide HFFI initiative. This was created in
2016 as the Healthy Food for Ohio program. It supports the development of new and existing grocery stores and other healthy
food retail outlets in lower-income areas by providing loans and grants to help businesses acquire land, build their stores, and
purchase equipment. It also covers some credit needs not typically filled by traditional financial institutions.308 As of August
2017, more than 45,000 people in Ohio had improved access to healthy food and 166 jobs had been created.
To read about more state efforts to reduce food insecurity and boost nutrition in high-poverty areas, see this report on
Appendix 13: Transit Subsidies for Low-Income People
A number of cities and other localities are working to make it easier for low-income residents to get around. While
transportation does not come under the jurisdiction of SNAP or the other nutrition programs in this report, transportation is
clearly essential to getting to the grocery store, work, a doctor’s office, and other destinations.
Researchers found that in New York City, low-income people spend more than 10 percent of their incomes on transit.310
Their costs will only increase as rising rent pushes lower-income people to increasingly distant suburbs. This is also true
of many other U.S. cities.311 Of course, spending more money on transit leaves less money for food. New York’s mayor
and city council have proposed fare subsidies for low-income people, many of whom are SNAP participants312 and are
disproportionately people of color.
Other cities have adopted similar policies. San Francisco has created a Muni Lifeline Program, which pays for nearly half
of the monthly transportation costs for Muni riders who live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Transit is free
for children 17 and younger.313 The Twin Cities area, Minneapolis/St. Paul, is implementing a Transit Assistance Program that
allows low-income residents to ride for $1.314
Appendix 14: Increasing SNAP Benefits through Matching Programs
Localities across the country have begun to help SNAP recipients put healthy food on the table by offering matching
programs that add an additional amount for fruits and vegetables to monthly SNAP benefits. Many matching programs take
place in farmers markets and can add as much as $25 per shopping trip if the recipient spends $25 of SNAP benefits. Some
programs match the amount spent on fruits and vegetables by a certain amount and cap it anywhere from $20 to $50 spent
Indianapolis, for example, has a program called “Fresh Bucks Indy.” Someone with SNAP benefits can go to a participating
farmers market and be given tokens, known as Fresh Bucks, worth double the amount of the SNAP benefit she uses, up to $20,
on fruit and vegetable items.315 Washington, DC, has a similar program. Participating farmers markets allow recipients to swipe
their EBT cards at the market and receive SNAP dollars plus Matching Dollars to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The
program offers a match of up to $10 per day on fresh fruits and vegetables.316
Local efforts such as these are important to enable people to purchase additional healthy food, and local and state
governments should continue to do their part. But they cannot take the place of increasing the monthly SNAP benefit amount.
To participate, people must know about the program in the first place, be able to get to a participating market during its
operating hours, and preferably, because matching funds are limited and the foods are perishable, be able to go more than
once a month.
Appendix 15: What the Larger Public Health Community Can Do
The larger public health community should make a concerted effort to apply a racial equity lens to current policies and
practices and to provide targeted support to communities of color. As part of this effort, leaders from different sectors should
meet with the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color and the CSI National First Food
Racial Equity Cohort.
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