ARPA Grant Spending Plan

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Overview:

Town staff have worked collaboratively with elected and appointed officials to identify a robust process for allocating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The Town has been allocated $11.9 million through this Federal grant. Stakeholders have been consulted to draft the initial spending plans for the first round.

The major eligible uses of the ARPA funding are to:

  • Support public health expenditures, by funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff;
  • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector;
  • Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic;
  • Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have borne and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors; and,
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and Stormwater infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet

How you can participate:

  • Review the materials listed under "Important Links" to the right.
  • Post your questions below in the "Q & A" section.
  • Review the revised spending plan from November 15, 2021 here.

Overview:

Town staff have worked collaboratively with elected and appointed officials to identify a robust process for allocating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The Town has been allocated $11.9 million through this Federal grant. Stakeholders have been consulted to draft the initial spending plans for the first round.

The major eligible uses of the ARPA funding are to:

  • Support public health expenditures, by funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff;
  • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector;
  • Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic;
  • Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have borne and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors; and,
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and Stormwater infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet

How you can participate:

  • Review the materials listed under "Important Links" to the right.
  • Post your questions below in the "Q & A" section.
  • Review the revised spending plan from November 15, 2021 here.

Ask your questions!

Ask us your questions about the Town of Amherst's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grant Spending Plan. A staff member will respond to your inquiry shortly, thank you! 

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    Hi! I would like to know how much ARPA funds have gone to new outreach and initiatives to address mental and emotional health challenges for low income communities of color? How is engagement reaching these communities,and what concrete programs are being put in place for youth to participate in summer activities that parents can not afford to pay on their own?

    Lauren Mills asked 2 months ago

    Thank you Lauren. 

    $250,000 of ARPA grant funds have been allocated for CRESS startup costs and there is another $500,000 for mental health programming. This does not include federal funds under the control of the school department. 

    One way the Town is planning to engage these communities is through ambassadors. Ambassadors were hired during the pandemic to convey public health information. Now they will be utilized to share information and gather input from different communities in Amherst. 

    The Recreation Department will be performing a needs assessment to identify how best to spend $200,000 of ARPA funds allocated for programming improvements. The needs assessment will include stakeholder input. More information to come. Please visit  https://www.amherstma.gov/3656/American-Rescue-Plan-Act for more information.


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    Great to see sustainability as part of the proposed ARPA fundings - both dedicated funds as well as a lens to apply to other projects. Addressing climate change - particularly in ways that supports underserved communities hit hardest by both COVID and the climate crisis - is a hugely important issue. This funding will help us to jump-start the work we need to do to meet our climate goals and move Amherst towards a just and sustainable future. The Energy and Climate Action Committee would be happy to provide thoughts on how the sustainability lens can be applied to other projects as well . Thank you for your work on this! Laura Draucker ( chair of ECAC)

    ldraucker asked 8 months ago

    Thank you!

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    Thank you for including the Amherst Survival Center. The proposed $400k over three years is the lowest amount we should allocate to these critical resources for many of the area residents hit hardest by COVID. I urge the town to maintain funding at this level.

    Jan eidelson asked 8 months ago

    Thank you!

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    I am hoping to see ARPA funds directed towards: 1) Giving Craig's Doors a permanent, 24-hour, year-round home so that we can offer the most needy among us a meal and a place to rest their heads and support the staff who do this work for us. 2) Supporting The Drake performance space to help bring community members and visitors back to downtown Amherst. The music will nourish us and our local businesses at the same time. Thank you. Jane Mairs - Board member, Craig's Doors

    Jane M asked 8 months ago

    Thank you!

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    The Covid pandemic and virtual learning last year has really showed the need to support residents use of broad band internet, wifi, and to have access to online service from their homes. What does the Town have now to share and reduce the cost of wifi, and how would the ARPA increase equity in this issue?

    LM asked 8 months ago

    Thank you, I will check with the schools and library on what services are currently provided. In regards to ARPA, expanding access to broadband internet is an eligible use. We are working with the Town IT department to identify areas of Town that may not have access to broadband.


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    Hi Sean and Brianna, Please direct some ARPA funds to The Drake, the new indoor performance space coming to Amherst where the High Horse used to be. In addition to bringing much-needed top-notch live music of all genres to Amherst, it will also serve the local community with under 21 open mic nights, over 21 open mic nights, a place for poetry slams/readings, book readings, comedy, all in an intimate space. It will serve as a real community builder....and in the process bring people spending $$ in our our local restaurants, B&Bs and shops by making Amherst a destination. So in addition to bringing much joy to all, and at times even profound experiences, in this way the Drake will be a real economic driver for the town. And not to help Amherst just recover from the devastation from the pandemic, but to thrive! Thank you for your consideration. Amy Gates, board member of DAF

    Amy Gates asked 8 months ago

    Thank you

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    My name is Michele Miller and I’m here with Dr. Jamileh Jemison in our capacity as co-chairs and representatives of the African Heritage Reparations Assembly. We recognize there are many critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and we appreciate the Town’s commitment to Public Health and Racial Equity, as reflected in the Initial Spending Plan. We’ve all been affected by the pandemic, however the impact of the pandemic and its consequences are felt disproportionately for Black people. Recent studies show that COVID-19 significantly impacted Blacks across all the outcomes measured compared to whites. The study found that the prevalence ratios in Blacks were 156% higher than in whites, and that Black people are at least twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as their white counterparts. Covid may be a novel virus, but the pattern of Blacks being negatively impacted with respect to health and well-being is not new. Marginalization, isolation, and exclusion that results from interpersonal and institutional racism have negative consequences for Black residents in Amherst. The mechanism is clear: living under systemic racism perpetuates a state of physiological stress, ultimately causing physical and mental illness. **According to Cooley Dickinson, local Black communities bear a disproportionate burden of disease, suffering higher rates of chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular conditions, asthma, and diabetes. Both adults and children suffer disproportionate levels of depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. **Racism affects Black patients in the form of medical bias. Local providers acknowledge that bias and prejudice exist throughout their agencies, specifically in a lack of staff diversity, policies, assumptions, prejudgments, and intolerance. Meanwhile, health outcomes, including survival, vastly improve when Black patients receive care from Black providers. **A significant threat to health, food insecurity affects 38% of all Hampshire county households. Last year, 24% of those using the food pantry at the Amherst Survival Center were Black. **In Amherst, the safety-net health facilities Musante Clinic and Amherst Survival Center Free Clinic cannot meet all the needs of the local at-risk population. **Black communities show higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death from Covid-19. Although vaccines are now available, Black residents of Massachusetts have a vaccination rate that is half that of whites. The culture of a community is a strong determinant of the health and well-being of its residents. The Amherst Board of Health is set to release a statement naming racism as a public health issue and outlining actionable steps to address it. The AHRA will also be developing recommendations in the coming months to address anti-Black racism, historical and present, in Amherst. To support this mission we request that the Town apply funds, which have already been allocated for Public Health and Racial Equity, toward reparations for residents of African Heritage. If depositing into the stabilization fund is restricted by the Treasury, we ask you to set aside funds for a particular eligible use, to be determined. We also wish to express the Assembly’s support of the recommendation made by the CSWG for a BIPOC led Youth Empowerment Center, and hope the Town will allocate ARPA funds toward the development of that project.

    Michele Miller, African Heritage Reparations Assembly (AHRA) Co-Chair asked 8 months ago

    Thank you

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    I see nothing here about housing. We still have a severe housing shortage and need money for help establish affordable housing.

    Gabriela asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for the comment. The proposed spending plan allocates $1,000,000 to expand affordable housing and to develop housing assistance programs. There is also $1,000,000 allocated to homelessness to explore the creation of transitional housing and to develop other shelter solutions.


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    Hello! I am pleased to seethe Amherst Survival Center included in Resident Emergency Aid, this funding is crucial in continuing to provide critical resources for community members hit hardest by COVID. I urge the town to maintain funding at this level. Thank you.

    Nicola Usher asked 8 months ago

    Thank you

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    Having been involved with the Amherst Survival Center for many years, I was pleased to learn that the ASC has been included in the Resident Emergency Aid part of the spending plan for ARPA funds. In order to sustain these vital food programs in our community, I urge you to maintain the proposed funding of $400,000 over 3 years. Thank you for your consideration of this.

    Dale Rice asked 8 months ago

    Thank you

Page last updated: 08 Jun 2022, 08:15 AM