Our First Stimulus Fund Investments

Our First Stimulus Fund Investments

Yesterday’s County Council meeting was a big deal. We allocated $50.5 million of the $175 million we are receiving from the federal stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Some highlights of the investments are in the below press release. You can find the detailed list here.

This was just the first investment – our goal was to fund urgent items necessary to keep county government functions operating safely and effectively (e.g. socially distanced justice services, mass vaccination and COVID testing sites, etc.) during this pandemic, ensure our safety net was strong for this phase of the pandemic (e.g. homelessness services, emergency food system, domestic violence services, etc.) and near-term investments to support our community to get out of the pandemic better than we went in to it (e.g. BIPOC business community entrepreneurial support, small business emergency relief grants, summer youth programs, expanding the Centers for Strong Families across the county and investing in financial and other skills building for families to get and stay out of poverty long-term, youth job corps, workforce training, etc. ).

We have until the end of 2024 to invest the resources to build our community back better. We will begin turning our attention to the next waves of investment in our community. While $175 million seems like a lot of money, with all of the need in our large county, it goes quickly. That’s why we need to be deliberative and strategic about these investments. We also need to remember there will, thankfully, be billions of dollars from the state and federal government from COVID stimulus funds for various purposes. We need to understand those and help our community connect to these funding opportunities and not be duplicative with our limited dollars. We want to get as much leverage as we can out of these investments. We are acting with both urgency and thoughtfulness and also need time for community feedback.

My priorities for ARPA investments will continue to be:
• Investments in historically marginalized communities to come out of the pandemic better than we went into it
• Leverage the dollars as far as possible with other local, state and federal funds
• Center equity in the investments
• Invest in programs, services and other needs that will continue to strengthen our safety net and help the most people

I welcome your thoughts on how we get out of the pandemic better than we went into it.

News Release
Office of the Pierce County Council

April 27, 2021

Emergent needs addressed in first round of ARPA allocations by Pierce County Council

Economic stabilization topped the list of emergent funding needs the Pierce County Council tackled Tuesday with its first round of American Rescue Plan Act funding allocations.

In a unanimous vote Council allocated an initial $50.5 million in federal funds to help the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This bill addresses the emergent needs of people and businesses who are hurting in our community, as well as confirms our continued response to the pandemic itself,” said Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young. “It also represents the foundation of our recovery. The Council’s strategic investments now and through future appropriations will support our mid- to long-term needs and rebuild Pierce County stronger than it was before the crisis.”

Pierce County expects to receive nearly $175 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for use over the next four years. The first half – roughly $88 million – is expected to be delivered to the county in early May.

The first round of allocation included adding another $4 million to the Rollback Relief Grant Program. Council approved the program earlier this month, dedicating an initial $4 million from the general fund to support small, local businesses with grants up to $10,000. The total amount now available through the program is $8 million.

Additional funding allocations approved by Council included:

• $5 million to support entrepreneurship and technical assistance grants with a focus on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
• $2.4 million for housing and homelessness.
• $2 million to support local food banks and pantries.
• $1.5 million for a summer jobs program to return people to work.
• $1.5 million for summer youth support programs.
Council also dedicated $3 million to Pierce County’s court system to help address a backlog of cases due to the pandemic. To see the full list of funding allocations view Ordinance 2021-32 online.

Roughly $37 million remains to be allocated from the county’s first round of ARPA funding. In the coming weeks Council will begin review of mid- and long-term needs facing the county with a focus on allocating funding to make sustainable improvements.

The approved ordinance now goes to Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier for signature. Once the county receives the federal funding, work will begin to get the money into the community as quickly as possible. More information will be shared as programs are up and running and applications available.

Brynn Grimley, Communications Manager
Office of the Pierce County Council
O: 253-798-7761 | C: 253-820-6896

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