As Arapahoe County residents, businesses and other organizations continue to recover from the pandemic, the County has begun distributing the one-time infusion of federal funds it received in 2021, to help those who have been hit hardest by various COVID-related setbacks.
The American Rescue Plan Relief Act (ARPA) presents an opportunity to assist our post-pandemic economic recovery in multiple areas and for a wide variety of community stakeholders, including small businesses and nonprofits, as well as industries that were disproportionately affected by COVID. Arapahoe County will distribute its $127.5 million allotment over the next several years to qualified recipients and will also use a portion of the funds to help address pandemic-related financial impacts experienced by the County.
The federal legislation outlined that these one-time funds should be incurred before December 31 2024, and expended or completed by Dec. 31 2026. (Individual communities within the County have also received their own federal allotments.) To help inform the County’s funding approach, the Board of County Commissioners updated its Response & Recovery Plan goals and objectives. The Board also held 14 stakeholder outreach meetings to understand community needs and solicit funding proposals. Initial funding allocations focus on the people, particularly vulnerable populations, and economic sectors that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, in categories that include (with total amounts allocated to date):
- Vulnerable Populations: $5,725,000
- Business Support: $12,806,500
- Homelessness/Housing: $20,000,000
- Mental Health: $8,572,060
- County Operations: $8,116,000
- Education: $11,000,000
- Physical Health: $1,590,000
- COVID Response: $5,200,000
“Arapahoe County will be the responsible steward for these funds by allocating them where they’re needed most across the community,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson. “We’ve already begun creating or expanding numerous programs and initiatives to address issues that fall outside of our normal budgetary limits and were exacerbated by COVID-related factors.”
The initial rollout of the County’s high-level plans for the ARPA funds also will help jumpstart our agency and community partners’ individual projects and programs. In many cases, the funds the Board has tentatively allocated to these initiatives will cover only some of their costs, so these partners can now leverage our commitment to help raise whatever additional funds they need.
Over the last few months, the Board has held study sessions to review funding recommendations and make allocations to date, some of which are tentative subject to additional details and finalized federal regulations. While this money will not fully cover everything on the County’s economic and programmatic to-do list, the funds will help stabilize what has been a very uncertain situation over the past 20 months by helping us launch, continue and expand numerous initiatives across a variety of sectors. The County is currently reviewing initial allocations for consistency and will resume evaluating potential funding allocations in the coming weeks.
For more information about specific projects and the approval process, visit www.arapahoegov.com/ARPA.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law March 2021 whose goal is to support the economic and public health recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This one-time allocation will enable Arapahoe County to assist in these efforts in multiple areas across our communities.