Every family should have access to the foods that help support a balanced diet and a healthier life. Yet 1.2 million residents of New York City live in lower income communities with limited access to healthy food retail. That’s why the American Heart Association is asking the city to fund programs that will increase access to healthy food, especially for neighborhoods that need it most.
- $15 million for SNAP Incentives: help New Yorkers afford fresh fruits and vegetables by expanding programs such as Health Bucks. 1 in 5 New Yorkers receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which reduce food insecurity and help households rise out of poverty. SNAP incentives such as Health Bucks can help people eat more fruits and vegetables and increase the quality of their diet.
- $10 million for a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI): help food establishments to open, expand, and improve grocery stores in neighborhoods that need food and jobs the most. Every neighborhood should have access to a place where people can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats like chicken and turkey, and dairy and whole grain products like milk, yogurt, whole grain breads, and pastas. An HFFI leverages both public and private funding to provide low-interest loans and grants specifically tailored for food establishments that may otherwise struggle to secure needed traditional capital. These programs increase access to healthy foods, create jobs for people in the neighborhood, create markets for farmers, and have the potential to lower health care costs.
- $3 million for Healthy Corner Store Initiatives: increase the amount of healthy food that is offered in bodegas, particularly in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Healthy corner store initiatives help stores educate their customers about the availability of healthy options. The best way to accomplish this is through community engagement and programs that train and provide incentives such as grants and free equipment to corner store owners and operators so they make the commitment and take steps to provide healthier foods.
New York City should include these vital programs in the city budget. Together, we can advance equitable access to healthy food and ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy.
Contact Greg Mihailovich, Director of Community Advocacy, for more information.