State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) joined Congressman Steve Stivers and others at an event today to applaud the launch of the Finance Fund Capital Corporation’s Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) program. This program, made possible by public-private partnerships, will provide grants and loans to food retailers and grocers that will spur development in underserved areas.

“It is vitally important that all Ohioans have access to fresh foods and groceries,” said Smith. “This program was created to address the reality that there are several communities that are in desperate need of a grocery store. Vinton County, for example, has been without a grocery store for years and we are working diligently to assist in locating one in the county. I am hopeful that the seed funding made possible by this initiative will be leveraged to improve access to fresh foods for both rural and urban areas in Ohio.”  

Funds for the HFFO program were allocated in HB 64, the FY 2016-2017 biennial budget, to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The Finance Fund Capital Corporation was chosen to be the private entity that would administer the funds from the ODJFS. Funds may be used for land acquisition, predevelopment, construction, infrastructure, equipment and related expenses needed to complete the project.

Applicants will be evaluated and approved for financing while funds remain available. The data used to determine an area’s eligibility will be provided by The Food Trust. A pre-application will be utilized to ensure that an applicant meets the objectives of the HFFO. If both the application and pre-application have been completed, a letter will be sent to the applicant disclosing the eligibility status and may invite the applicant to apply for financing.

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