Building Toward A Just Recovery

As our pandemic response moves towards long-term equitable recovery, local government will continue to play a critical role in ensuring communities have the immediate relief and long-term solutions to addresses underlying systemic inequalities.

Here you can find information, resources, and opportunities in support of a just and equitable recovery — with a focus on housing justice, reimagining public safety, reopening schools, and guidance on implementing federal relief spending.

American Rescue Plan – Resources for Localities

With the American Rescue Plan, localities can and must invest in community needs and build sustainable infrastructure centered on equity. Effectively and equitably using these resources will give immediate relief to millions of Americans in need. It also has the potential to build long-term infrastructure and systems change while creating demonstrative proof in local communities of all kinds – urban, suburban, and rural – that the government can help people.

In this section, you’ll find policy menus and analyses on how to localities can use ARP funds to ensure a just and equitable recovery.

Emergency Rental Assistance Memo

LP’s analysis and guidance to using ARP funds

Disparity Studies: Contracting & Business Diversity – Resource Guide

Cash Assistance Programs – Resource Guide

Housing Justice Policy Menu

Using ARP to address the care crisis by A Better Balance


Examples & Models of ARP Spending

In this section, you’ll find examples and links highlighting how localities are using ARP funds to ensure a just and equitable recovery.

Approved Spending Plans

  • Seattle, WA: On June 1, the Seattle City Council approved a spending plan for $130 million. Addressing homelessness and community well-being are the two most significant priorities, with almost $50 million for permanent housing, emergency housing, shelters and services. Approximately $13 million will support shelter quality and outreach efforts, housing providers and diversion options. The city will spend $25 million in cash assistance, $3 million on child care stipends and $5 million on childcare facilities. Two million is earmarked for mental health services, gender-based violence response, and other community services. Other funding areas include small business and community recovery including retraining and apprenticeship programs, community assistance and programming and technology upgrades.
  • New Haven, CT: The city of New Haven will spend the first $26 million – of more than $90 million total – to make up for lost revenue and invest in summer programs. The city will use aid as a cost recovery measure for the following revenue sources: parking meters, building permit fees, and tax collection. Just over $6 million will go towards a range of summer programs as part of a reset spending plan for the city. $1.5 million of that is for youth-specific activities including extending summer camps, expanding the city’s outdoor adventure program, and creating a new program to fund direct grants for local private youth service providers.
  • Austin, TX: Austin City Council also voted on a framework for how to spend their ARP funds, making a historic investment of nearly $100 million in homelessness solutions. The funding will provide housing, mental health care, and job aid, and would drastically reduce homelessness in Austin.

Outlined Priorities

  • St. Louis, MO: On June 1, the Stimulus Advisory Board Direct Relief Subcommittee submitted a memo to the Mayor, Comptroller, Council President and other Advisory board members. The memo outlined the following priorities for funding including the framework approach they used to develop the recommendations. Direct relief activities focus on rapid assistance to households and businesses, while priorities for system level interventions build capacity for future rounds of funding. The committee utilized the city’s equity indicators to evaluate each direct relief priority. Community needs assessment data indicate support for meeting critical health needs, providing rental, mortgage and utility assistance, supporting the unhoused, shoring up small and distressed businesses, offering summer youth programming, expanding internet access, ensuring free public transportation and establishing targeted direct cash assistance.
  • Milwaukee, WI: The City of Milwaukee stands to receive approximately $394 million dollars. The mayor is in the process of developing a plan to propose to the Common Council in July and he is committed to addressing racial inequities. Priorities include: early childhood, housing, broadband, small business supports, lead abatement and resilience. Violence prevention and neighborhood safety are also major priority areas. The city may also use some of the funding to make up for lost revenues; parking is one of the major sources of revenue and the city lost approximately $19 million last year alone when they decided to make parking free. The city is exploring collaboration with the school district and county to ensure funds have the maximum positive impact for communities.