Mayor Tishaura O. Jones Enacts $135 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funding, Delivers Aid to St. Louis Families
The package will invest more than $135 million into helping support and stabilize neighborhoods in anticipation of more federal funds down the line.
This article is 2 years old. It was published on August 16, 2021.
Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, joined by faith, labor and elected leaders, announced that she will sign the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) direct relief package passed out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The total package will invest more than $135 million into families and neighborhoods across St. Louis, helping support and stabilize neighborhoods in anticipation of more federal funds down the line.
“This is a public safety plan, a public health plan, and an economic relief plan all in one. We have to boost our vaccination rates, help keep families in their homes and address the root causes of crime,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “I’m grateful to Congresswoman Cori Bush, Comptroller Darlene Green, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and the public for their work in making this a reality. My administration’s top priority is now getting this urgent relief, including $500 direct payments, to thousands of St. Louis families. But this is just the beginning; we still have hundreds of millions of federal dollars in the bank to transform and revitalize St. Louis, and I will work to make sure those investments benefit our entire city.”
The final package was informed by more than 2,500 comments from the public and multiple community feedback sessions. Highlights of the relief package include:
- $500 direct cash assistance payments to 10,000 St. Louis families negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
- $8 million in public health infrastructure to connect people with the resources they need and get more people vaccinated with mobile vaccine clinics, vaccine incentives, and community canvasses to meet St. Louisans in their neighborhoods and homes.
- $49 million in direct economic relief, including housing and utility assistance, support for unhoused neighbors, legal assistance, and public benefits navigators to help residents connect with these services
- $11.5 million to address the root causes of crime and improve public safety through increased funding for violence intervention programs and youth programming and jobs to keep youth engaged and safe.
- $30 million to grow jobs and opportunities across the city, including a hub in North St. Louis to assist small business owners, a small business loan fund, workforce development, and expanding broadband and public wifi.
With nearly $500 million in ARPA funds total heading to St. Louis, as well as likely federal infrastructure support, Mayor Jones also laid out her vision for spending the next round of funds to reverse historic wrongs by investing in disinvested neighborhoods throughout North St. Louis and in pockets of South City. These priorities, which will help make sure residents can meet basic needs and benefit equally from development, include affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, economic empowerment with small business loans and technical assistance, workforce development, neighborhood beautification and revitalization, and more.
Mayor Jones also used power established in the City Charter to line item veto $33 million in allocations from the final package that violated US Treasury rules regulating the spending of ARPA funds. The City’s CARES Act and ARPA auditor, City Counselor, and longtime federal lobbyist warned that such spending outside of federal regulations could result in St. Louis being forced to pay millions back to the federal government. As fiduciary stewards of St. Louis, the Mayor and Comptroller Darlene Green previously stated their firm commitment to not spend federal funds at risk of a clawback from the US Treasury. Mayor Jones’ multiple efforts to work with bill sponsors to bring the legislation in line with federal rules were rebuffed every time.