Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott announced that the city will begin accepting applications for funds from the $641 million in American Rescue Plan beginning on October 1. The funds are available to eligible nonprofit entities and include investments in continuing the work to end COVID-19, projects aimed at reducing violence, the city's economic recovery efforts, and some focus on women-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color. There are also initiatives for artists, digital equity, and workforce development within the city.
The City’s plan for ARPA funds has five primary pillars and corresponding strategic actions: Prioritizing Youth, Equitable Neighborhood Development, Building Public Safety, Clean and Healthy Communities and Responsible Stewardship of City Resources.
Projects should align with three basic categories. The first is Budget Stabilization, which includes lost revenues which resulted from the pandemic, including revenue replacement. The second is City Stabilization, including "direct investments in the pandemic response, broadband infrastructure, workforce development, violence prevention, and economic recovery. The third is City Recovery, which includes areas proposed by city agencies and outside organizations with projects aimed at overall revitalization efforts. These projects should all support the Mayor's five pillars in order to meet consideration criteria.
The funds come from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which provided $641 million to the City of Baltimore through the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The fund was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative economic impact on cities like Baltimore.
Scott said, "(The) $641 million is a significant investment, but in a city like Baltimore with deep, systematic challenges even before the pandemic, we must be strategic and targeted in our approach."
The funding is a single-time disbursement to help struggling communities recover from economic difficulties that arose from the shifting challenges brought by COVID-19. According to the Baltimore Treasury report, as of September 1, 2021, the City of Baltimore has experienced 56,136 COVID-19 cases, and 1,154 COVID deaths Mayor Scott plans to use this funding to make strategic investments in Baltimore’s future and to deliver vital resources and services throughout the city.
In July 2021 Mayor Scott established the Mayor's Office of Recovery Programs, which is responsible for administering the ARPA funding and reporting outcomes and progress to the federal government, as well as Baltimore constituents.
The American Rescue Plan Act was signed March 11, 2021, and it includes State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) which became the source of the $641 million allocated to Baltimore. The Treasury Department provided Baltimore with the first half of the funding in the spring of 2021. The second half of the funds will be disbursed in mid-2022. The City must commit all of the funds by December 31, 2024.
In order to ensure a fair, transparent, and successful use of funds, the Mayor's Office designed an online application process to distribute the funds across multiple organizations citywide. City agencies, external organizations, and nonprofits can propose projects to be funded through ARPA SLFRF. According to the Treasury Report, "the application process includes a thorough and comprehensive review of agency operations, staffing, work processes, resource allocations, and performance."
Project proposals must have a minimum request of $250,000 to be considered.
For more information about the Recovery Office’s plans for ARPA, please see the annual Recovery Plan report submitted to the U.S. Department of Treasury on August 31, 2021.
For information about how the funds may be used, see the Federal Register about rules and regulations guiding ARPA funds. Application decisions will be released beginning in November of 2021.
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