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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

April 1st, 2022

🌷No April Foolin’ - Welcome to the Friday Update from the Federal Funding Hub!🌷

This message shares news and resources so that our region can make the most of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other federal funding.

News from MSP Cities

  • St. Paul: Mayor Melvin Carter announced a $14.5 million American Rescue Plan investment to replace thousands of lead pipes across the city.

  • Minneapolis: A 25-person Inclusive Economic Recovery Work Group assembled by Mayor Jacob Frey in November 2021 delivered recommendations to city leaders on Monday morning that they believe will provide a more inclusive economic recovery as the area deals with the fallout from the pandemic and 2020 riots after the death of George Floyd. Frey will announce how the recommendations fit into a broader investing plan that will include the second round of American Rescue Plan Act funding.

News from MSP Counties

  • Anoka County: The board adopted a budget allocation amendment for the $69,840,121 it expects to receive in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The updated plan leaves about $2.5 million unallocated. The categories to which funds are currently allocated are public health, negative economic impact, services to disproportionately impacted communities, premium pay, infrastructure, revenue replacement, and grant administration

  • Carver County: The bulk of the American Rescue Plan Act money has been spent on items like public health expenses, housing and household assistance programs, broadband and other technology, small business assistance, and other costs related to the pandemic. About $9.6 million remains unallocated. At their meeting March 15, county commissioners authorized another $1 million-plus in immediate funding requests.

  • Scott County: The board agenda for its April 6th meeting includes an update on park projects that are being considered for implementation as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) program and discuss how the PAC would like to be engaged in the ARPA project designs and implementation.

Minnesota News.

  • ECRDC: U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced $400,000 in federal funding for the East Central Regional Development Commission (ECRDC). These funds were made available by the “Revolving Loan Fund” provided by ARPA.

  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College: Thanks to emergency funding available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief III (HEERF III) and authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Minneapolis College has awarded more than 1,000 emergency grants to eligible students. The College created this fund to help students avert crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency funds are still available (through April 15, or until funds are exhausted)

  • A Year into ARPA: Read in the Star Tribune how Minnesota still has billions of pandemic relief dollars to spend.

  • Minnesota Educator Pipeline: Students are back in school across Minneapolis after teachers' union leaders and city officials reached a deal to end a three-week strike over low pay, lack of diversity among teachers, large class sizes, and student mental health challenges. Recognizing the tumult, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona sounded the alarm on Monday, urging states, school districts and colleges and universities to use ARPA funding to stave off teacher resignations, hire more staff, provide bonuses and pay raises and grow the educator pipeline.

  • Minnesota Broadband: $70 million is made available for broadband development that comes from ARPA, on top of other federal dollars being made available to the state.

  • Funding for Nurses: With $3 millon in ARPA money, Minnesota started a program in January to train 1,000 certified nursing assistants. So far, 1,200 Minnesotans have taken advantage of the deal, which includes tuition, textbooks and exam fees.

  • Governor's Council on Economic Expansion: The Council met March 28th to understand strategies around holistic investments in current and future workers, including BIPOC entrepreneurs and micro-businesses, and how to remove systemic barriers to create a just and fair society that supports all to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Watch a recording of the meeting here.

National News

  • Intergovernmental Bill: Read about a bipartisan bill to increase cooperation between all levels of government to improve the ability of state and local governments to provide critical services more efficiently and save taxpayer dollars as they help carry out many federal programs.

  • ARPA Claw back: The lead Republican negotiator trying to reach a deal with Senate Democrats over $15 billon in new Covid-19 aid the Biden administration is urgently seeking signaled Wednesday that clawing back American Rescue Plan Act funds from states remains in play.

  • Water Funds: Billions of dollars in the bipartisan infrastructure law to improve the nation’s drinking water systems is a major step toward eliminating lead pipes and other contaminants around the country. However, officials representing state water administrators told a House subcommittee Tuesday they need more flexibility from the Environmental Protection Agency to allow them to tackle important tasks like figuring out where all the lead pipes are.

  • New Budget Proposal: The roughly $5.8 trillon budget proposal President Biden put forward Monday would boost spending on a range of federal initiatives that states, and localities depend on, including programs to expand affordable housing that is in short supply, prevent homelessness during a time when it is soaring and hire more police officers as crime rates rise across the country.

Upcoming Webinars

  • Affordable Housing Webinar: Join mySidewalk and National League of Cities (NLC) next Thursday for a webinar conversation, How to Assess Affordable Housing Needs with Community Data. Register here.

  • Rent Regulation: Urban Land Institute Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis are partnering with experts from across the housing sector to present a four-part, virtual event series featuring research-based, evidence-driven conversation on rent regulation. The first part starts on April 11th from 3:30-4:30pm. Register here.

  • Follow the Money: Join Commissioner Marion Greene from Hennepin County at a Route Fifty webinar on April 12th at 12-1 pm CT. Register here.

  • Reentry and Housing: This webinar on April 20, 2022, 11:00 pm – 12:15 p.m. CT will focus on Secretary Fudge’s guidance encouraging communities to prioritize people in reentry for the 70,000 ARP Emergency Housing Vouchers available nationwide.

Past Webinars

  • GREATER MSP: GREATER MSP is excited to report that our region’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge proposal was formally submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration on March 15. An amazing coalition of over 60 organizations from all sectors collaborated in an intense ninety-day sprint to assemble the final application. Our proposal, The Bold North BioInnovation Cluster, is an ambitious vision to create the first economic sector in Minnesota designed with equity as a priority.

GREATER MSP recently hosted a recap webinar in which the project team walked through the content of the application and fielded questions from partners and supporters. You can watch a recording of the webinar here. (Passcode: 0ta.%ppi)

Resources

  • Community Safety: The intersection between community safety, the built environment, and infrastructure is often overlooked, but new federal funding opportunities—including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP)—offer local leaders an unparalleled opportunity to explore this forgotten avenue. In this article, Brookings explores ways to harness the evidence on community safety to make much-needed infrastructure investments that will make our states, cities, towns, territories, and tribal nations healthier and safer.

  • 3 Principles to Create an Antiracist, Equitable Recovery: States should consider three principles when deciding how to spend their remaining federal pandemic aid to uplift communities experiencing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic and to address racism, poverty, and other injustices.

  • Rural Digital: Explore this toolkit which is an evolving library of resources, which includes case studies for Platteville, Wisconsin; Red Wing, Minnesota; and other communities. The toolkit helps to inform the rural digital economy ecosystem strategies and better visualize the challenges facing rural communities.

Please reach out with questions and ideas regarding federal funding in our region. Also let me know if you have any news or resources you’d like us to share.

Allison


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