The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS) will award up to $9.5 million in Community Economic Development (CED) discretionary grant funds to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts. Additionally or as an alternative, applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of low-income residents, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the CED program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CED-HFFI), OCS seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for low-income families, and create sustained employment opportunities in low-income communities. To do this, the CED-HFFI program will provide technical and financial assistance for healthy food ventures designed to: (1) improve access to, and purchase and consumption of healthy, affordable foods; and (2) address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities in low-income communities. CED-HFFI grants will be made as part of a broader strategy to address objectives such as decreasing dependency on Federal programs, chronic unemployment, and community deterioration in urban and rural areas. CED projects are expected to actively recruit low-income individuals to fill the positions created by CED-funded development activities, and to assist those individuals to successfully hold those jobs and ensure that the businesses and jobs created remain viable for at least one year after the end of the grant period. CED-funded projects can be non-construction or construction projects. The grant period for non-construction projects is 3 years; for construction projects, the grant period is 5 years. The CED program permits facility construction as needed to support business creation, business expansion, and/or job creation. However, it is important to note that short-term construction jobs associated with preparing for business startup or expansion are not counted when determining the number of jobs created under the CED program as they are designed to be temporary in nature.
Bonus points will be awarded for proposed healthy food projects that involve collaboration with other Federal HFFI Programs and Certain Additional Federal Programs that Address Healthy Food Access, target rural communities and that will be located in one of the following states or Trust Territories that do not have an active CED-HFFI project: Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Island of Guam, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
May 27, 2014