- Department of Transitional Assistance
Media Contact for DTA Launches New Tool to Connect Low-income Households with Local Produce: DTAFinder.com. Find open HIP vendors and safe shopping options.
Alana Davidson, Director of Communications
Boston — The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) launched a new tool to help individuals and households who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits find open Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) farm vendor locations near them and safe shopping options: DTAFinder.com.
“The Baker-Polito Administration has been working to address increased food insecurity across the Commonwealth resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for those communities and residents who have been disproportionately affected,” said COVID-19 Response Command Center Director and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “DTA Finder offers another tool for people with SNAP to connect to local healthy food being in the Commonwealth, supporting our local food system now and beyond the pandemic.”
HIP puts money back on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card when people use SNAP to buy healthy, local fruits and vegetables from HIP farm vendors, up to $40-$80 each month. Vendors include participating farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture programs (CSAs).
DTA Finder is an interactive map that allows households to search for up-to-date HIP locations. The tool is mobile friendly and available in 5 languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
“The Healthy Incentives Program is a powerful tool in our work to address food security issues across the state. The program not only increases access to fresh, locally-grown food for SNAP clients, but also brings critical economic support to our local farms and communities,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Amy Kershaw. “This new tool will help clients find HIP locations and safe shopping options, extending the reach of this impactful program to communities that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 or face structural barriers to food access.”
Some of the main features on DTAFinder.com include:
- Search a location’s “open” status by month, specific day of the week or "open today"
- Search locations by city, county, or your current location
- Search locations by order options, such as curbside pickup or delivery
- View the names of HIP vendors who sell at a farmers' market -- not all vendors at farmers’ markets process HIP
- See information about the HIP vendor (description, contact info, products, picture)
- Get directions to HIP locations using google maps
For more information on HIP and step-by-step instructions on how to use HIP, visit Mass.gov/HIP. Tutorial videos on how to use DTA Finder on a mobile device and desktop computer are available on DTA’s YouTube channel.
This tool builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to increase access to healthy, local food and strengthen our food system during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the long-term. The Administration invested $5 million in additional funds to expand HIP last spring, allowing DTA, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, to enroll 39 new HIP vendors into the program.
New farm vendors were selected based on their ability to respond to the needs of populations and communities most significantly impacted by COVID-19, including seniors and communities of color, and those that serve areas designated as food deserts. The majority of new vendors are local, small-scale farmers who live in or have close ties to the communities and populations they intend to serve. Once fully onboard these vendors will create 81 new access points across the Commonwealth, 16 in Gateway Cities, and 11 in new cities not previously served by the program.
Households who do not receive SNAP benefits are encouraged to check their eligibility and apply online or over the phone at (877) 382-2363. SNAP benefits received on behalf of others (e.g., your citizen child) are not considered in the public charge test. During the public health emergency, families are receiving additional monthly SNAP payments to bring them up to the maximum benefit level for their household size, which have temporarily been increased by 15%. That is $430 a month for a household of two and $782 a month for a household of four.
DTA assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency. DTA serves one in eight residents of the Commonwealth with direct economic assistance and food assistance, as well as workforce training opportunities.