October 28, 2016
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NY Gov Plan Combats "Food Deserts"

 ALBANY, NY -- Governor David A. Paterson has announced the availability of $30 million for the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund to finance the building of food markets in underserved communities. Administered by Empire State Development (ESD), the fund includes a $20 million commitment from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and a $10 million commitment from ESD.

"Today's announcement is a major step forward in ensuring the health and well-being of all New Yorkers," Governor Paterson said. "As part of the State's broader Healthy Food/Healthy Communities Initiative, the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund provides financing for infrastructure costs and credit needs not typically filled by conventional financial institutions. Through this unique model, the fund will increase the supply of affordable, fresh food in underserved areas, improve the diets and health outcomes of the State's residents, and spur economic development in these neighborhoods."

In addition to the commitments from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and ESD, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is providing an additional $300,000 to cover expenses related to technical assistance and program administration. State funding for the HFHC program was set aside by Governor Paterson in the 2009–10 State Budget. The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), in partnership with The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) and The Food Trust, was selected through an RFP to administer the fund.

Empire State Development Chairman & CEO Dennis M. Mullen said: "Governor Paterson created the Healthy Food/Healthy Communities Initiative in 2009 to respond to the lack of access to affordable, nutritious, fresh food in underserved communities. The Governor came to ESD because our commitment doesn't start and end with businesses. Improving New York's economy includes the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. By working with LIIF, we are not only increasing access to healthy food in the neighborhoods that need it, we are also creating jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods."

An estimated 1.7 million New Yorkers, including 750,000 in New York City, live in neighborhoods that have limited access to stores providing healthy food options or fresh groceries. People living in these areas often shop for food at corner stores where high-sugar, high-fat food products dominate the shelves. By providing grants and loans to encourage food retailers to increase the supply of affordable, fresh food in these areas, the Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund aims to offer more healthful choices to the State's residents. The initiative will create approximately 382 construction jobs and create or retain more than 3,000 direct jobs.

LIIF, the lead fund administrator, will draw on its 25 years of experience providing innovative grant and loan funds to low income communities to manage all aspects of this program, including originating loans and grants and ongoing portfolio management. TRF is the partnering administrator and is working with LIIF to build the HFHC Fund and underwrite loans. TRF has also provided LIIF with customized data analysis to help estimate the severity of the food access problem in New York and identify underserved areas across the State. The Food Trust, a nationally recognized nonprofit food access organization, will lead outreach efforts and evaluate applications for eligibility. Grants will range from $5,000 to $500,000 and loans from $250,000 to $5 million and higher for New Markets Tax Credit transactions. Fund participants can use the capital for predevelopment, acquisition, or construction activities, or as a term loan. Additionally, LIIF and its partners will work with borrowers to further leverage the fund's loans to attract additional capital.

Empire State Development is New York's chief economic development agency, committed to being recognized on a global scale as the economic development engine driving job growth, strategic investment, and prosperity in New York State. ESD is intent on paving the way for New York State to become the leader of the innovation economy and one of the most business-friendly, productive and competitive economic development climates in the world. ESD also oversees the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information, visit: www.esd.ny.gov.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private Foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers. NYSHealth has a three-part mission: expanding health insurance coverage, increasing access to high-quality health care services, and improving public and community health by educating New Yorkers about health issues and empowering communities to address them. NYSHealth was established with charitable funds from the privatization of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) has served more than 860,000 people since 1984, by providing over $900 million in financing and technical assistance to hundreds of community organizations serving the nation's poorest and hardest-to-reach populations. LIIF's primary program areas are affordable and supportive housing, child care, and education facilities benefiting low income people and families. Over its history, LIIF has generated over $17 billion in societal and family benefits and provided the financing and technical assistance to create and preserve: 55,000 units of affordable housing; over 150,000 child care spaces; 50,000 spaces in schools; and 3.2 million square feet of community facilities and commercial space. LIIF has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. 

The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) is a leading national innovator in capitalizing distressed communities and stimulating economic growth for low- and moderate-income families. Central to its mission is a commitment to put capital and private initiative to work for the public good. TRF invests in homes, schools, food access, and sustainable energy, the values and community resources that our cities and families need to thrive. Since its inception in 1985, TRF has made $1 billion in community investments. TRF is nationally recognized for its research and housing-related policy analysis. TRF's data analysis focuses both on helping TRF identify opportunities to invest its own resources as well as providing services to public sector and private clients seeking assistance with their own strategies to preserve and rebuild vulnerable communities. TRF's analytical strength is also reflected in its newly created national online data and mapping tool that is available for all internet users at www.policymap.com. The tool offers thousands of data indicators to help users understand a place, compare places or track their own investments in a place. 

The Food Trust, a nonprofit founded in 1992, works to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers, and policymakers, The Food Trust has developed a comprehensive approach that combines nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, healthy food. 


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