“Underserved Populations Facing Food Deserts”
Food deserts are a continuous problem in Champaign, IL. Champaign county does have grocery stores, but in low-income communities, grocery stores are more than a half a mile away. Having grocery stores far away lead to unhealthy food habits because a convenient store located only a block away sells chips, sodas, and other unhealthy foods. Champaign county faces a poverty rate of 20%. This is a large number as it pertains to availability for most families in underserved neighborhoods. Current taxes generated by the government amount to $42 million in 2019. The funds from taxes should go to building more gardens, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. Currently, only 1% of the budget goes to neighborhood services while the police force received a budget of 22% for their services.
There is a huge gap between governmental spending for neighborhood sources and police spending. If there is a greater budget for building up neighborhoods, crime could potentially go down and police forcing budget costs would decrease also. If the city council and community development planning teams worked together, there could be an increase in public housing, community resources, advocacy, and healthier food choices for underserved populations.
Overall, tax budgets held within Illinois estimate a revenue over $85 million. The state needs to allocate assets to help in community development, reducing poverty, homelessness, and growing rates of chronic health conditions and diseases.
Edited By Jasmine Mitchell