What is the ARPA?
On March 11, 2021 President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to aid public health and economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – making it one of the largest economic rescue plans in U.S. history!
In the wake of the pandemic, state, local and tribal governments across America have been put under immense strain – not to mention the health and economic wellbeing of millions of Americans! Within the American Rescue Plan, $350 billion has been allocated to support states, tribal governments, metropolitan cities, counties and non-entitlement units (NEY’s) of local governments, which generally have populations below 50,000. Under the American Rescue Plan, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program will allocate:
- $195 billion for states, (a minimum of $500 million for each State);
- $130 billion for local governments (a minimum of $1.25 billion per state is provided by the statute inclusive of the amounts allocated to local governments within the state);
- $20 billion for tribal governments; and
- $4.5 billion for territories
In turn, the SLFRF program will provide governments with the resources they need to:
- Make investments that will support long-term growth and opportunity
- Maintain vital public services
- Fight the pandemic
- Support families and businesses struggling with its public health and economic impacts
How can state, tribal and local governments use ARPA funds?
As highlighted, the Rescue Plan will help to provide the needed relief to governments, enabling them to support the public health response and “lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery”.
So, how can cities use their funds? The broad categories to use the funds are as follows:
Respond to the public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic
By supporting the health of communities, and helping households, small businesses, impacted industries, nonprofits and the public sector to recover.
Replace lost public sector revenue
Provide government services up to the amount of revenue lost during the pandemic.
Invest in broadband, water and sewer infrastructure
Make the necessary investments to improve access and expand affordable access to broadband internet.
Provide premium pay for essential workers
Offer additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks.
Cities will have until December 31, 2024, to obligate funds and until December 31, 2026, to spend funds. For more information on eligibility and how to request funding, click here.
The importance of civic engagement
As cities decide how to use their funding, there has never been a more important time to hear from citizens – especially as governments explore how to align their funds with local priorities. By involving people in the decision making process, city leaders will be able to gather feedback, sentiment and insights from members and create more inclusive communities – this will ultimately have a direct impact on the future shaping of a local area and its services. After all, communities are made up of people who live, work and use their public areas so shouldn’t they have a say?
Using ARPA funds, how can Hello Lamp Post support your city’s recovery?
- Empower more people to have a say in decisions being made around your town or city.
- Reach diverse, widespread and underrepresented communities through text-based chats.
- Make your local area more attractive to new and returning visitors.
- Generate revenue and support local businesses by driving footfall to certain locations and improve visitor satisfaction.
- Make local information and experiences more accessible and inclusive.
- Promote and digitize local services.
- Gather real-time data, insights and sentiment from residents and visitors, which will be used to improve wellbeing, experiences and satisfaction.
- Automate citizen communications and engagement, in a friendly, digital and contactless way.
- Encourage an honest feedback loop and bridge the gap between local decision makers and the community by making communications more transparent.
Hello Lamp Post has already delivered a number of federal recovery funds in the UK
Here are some examples of our initiatives with Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and Colchester Borough Council:
- Helping to increase foot traffic around town centers with cultural and historical trails.
- Making towns and cities interactive, to gather feedback and sentiments from residents and visitors.
- Encouraging two-way conversations between residents and governments about Covid-safe behaviors, as well as promoting health and wellbeing, sustainable and active travel campaigns.
- Supporting local businesses by promoting their events and shop local campaigns, alongside efforts made by retailers and the council to aid their downtown recovery.
- Gathering opinions and sentiment around the future of local areas, from people who experience it first hand.
Hello Lamp Post is the silver bullet of government decision making – we have the power to shape the way citizens live and interact with their local area, helping to build a vision for the future. So, if your city needs support with their economic and social recovery, Hello Lamp Post is here to help. We can transform your civic engagement and communication to drive community-led decision making and place shaping.
For more information, get in touch with our engagement team at firstname.lastname@example.org