Beginning July 1, 2022, the act requires the department of human services to work in partnership with counties towards implementation of a high-quality county work management system across all counties to interface with the Colorado benefits management system used to process and approve applications for essential state public assistance programs, such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), medicaid, and Colorado works. Eligibility and enrollment for SNAP and LEAP are integrated to increase access and efficiency.
A community food access program (food program) is created in the department of agriculture (department). The purpose of the food program is to improve access to and lower prices for healthy foods in low-income and underserved areas of the state by supporting small food retailers. As part of the food program, the department shall create a community food consortium (consortium) for small food retailers and Colorado-owned and Colorado-operated farms. The small food business recovery and resilience grant program (grant program) is established, to be overseen by the food program. An advisory committee is established to assist the department with the grant program. One-time grants not to exceed $25,000 will be provided to small food retailers to help support infrastructure and other necessary items to make fresh, healthy food more accessible to low-income and underserved communities. The department is granted authority to promulgate rules as necessary to implement the food program.
The department shall develop a strategy for outreach to Colorado-owned and Colorado-operated farms, food retailers, and small farms that are interested in participating in the consortium or grant program.
The food program is repealed, effective September 1, 2027.
For the 2022-23 state fiscal year, the following appropriations are made from the economic recovery and relief cash fund:
- $3 million to the department of human services for use by administration and finance for IT systems interoperability;
- $2 million to the department of human services for use by the office of economic security for fuel assistance payments related to food and energy assistance;
- $1 million to the department of human services for use by the office of economic security for electronic benefits transfer programming related to food and energy assistance;
- $1 million to the department of agriculture to implement the community food access program; and
- $7 million to the department of agriculture to implement the small food business recovery and resilience grant program and outreach.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)