ARPA: Scranton PA, Creates Community Wellness Programs and Invests in Community Programs

Scranton received $68.7 million in ARPA funds, and Mayor Paige Cognetti work to ensure the funding is invested to give people access to resources, rebuild the infrastructure systems that impact their everyday lives, and foster equitable wealth generation that targets the needs of Scranton residents. As of February 2023, Scranton awarded $1 million in grants to nearly 50 nonprofit organizations in need of financial recovery. Another $950,000 helped the support and creation of community wellness programs, including projects focused on behavioral health and mental wellness, drug overdose  prevention, and violence prevention. 

“Supporting a city that only recently shed its status as a financially distressed municipality is no easy  task,” Mayor Cognetti said. “This once-in-a-lifetime ARPA funding is helping us to accelerate progress and promote the people and organizations that make Scranton a wonderful place to live and  work.” 

ARP: Shelby County TN, Grant to Bolster Healthcare Workforce

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced a $14 million Public Health Workforce and Infrastructure Grant from the American Rescue Plan to upskill and retain its public health workforce. This grant will allow the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) to develop and implement a workforce development plan, including educational opportunities for employees to expand their education in graduate and certificate public health programs (3 doctorates, 5 masters, and 5 certifications). Additionally, the grant will help SCHD perform ongoing data assessments to monitor workforce needs, enhance diversity among its workforce, and partner with community organizations for competency training to better address health inequities and disparities in the community.

ARP: Colorado’s “I Matter” Program Support Student’s Mental Health

In 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill to establish the “I Matter” program, which provides up to six free therapy sessions for Colorado youth. Originally part of the Governor’s Colorado Comeback Roadmap, which dedicated $9 million to the program to address any needs that may have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the program launched, more than 6,000 Colorado youth have received one or more free therapy sessions, and the program was renewed to run  through at least June 2023.

ARP: Chester County PA, Investing to meet Community’s Mental Health Needs

Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell purposefully targeted American Rescue Plan funds with the goal of improving services to disproportionately impacted communities with key investments to improve public health. Nearly $13 million has been invested in behavioral and mental health initiatives that will support a three-pillar mental health response plan, including the Chester County 9-8-8 Mental Health Crisis Response system, mobile mental health crisis teams, and crisis stabilization centers. Additionally, $2.5 million was allocated to the Christiana Care West Grove Campus for capital improvement projects to help the hospital’s planned re-opening and returning much-needed services to residents.

ARP: Shreveport Announced a $5.3 Million Investment to Support Young People

Mayor Adrian Perkins announced a $5.3 million investment from American Rescue Plan funds to support young people in Shreveport — a direct result of feedback from community listening sessions. Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation will receive $3 million, the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana will receive $1.5 million, and Ronald McDonald House Charities will receive $800,000 for projects ranging from the construction of recreation facilities to providing for families with critically ill children.

ARP: New Castle County announced the Creation of School-Based Wellness Centers

 New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced the creation of school-based wellness centers in underserved communities using American Rescue Plan funds. The program will establish wellness centers in four schools to help families and communities address trauma and mental health issues faced throughout the pandemic. The program is a partnership between school districts, county government and the Delaware School-Based Health Alliance, among others. Wellness centers will work together with other school staff, like nurses and psychologists, and community physicians to create plans for managing the health of students or addressing any chronic health problems. While the centers will not provide ongoing mental health services, they will offer initial consultations to help students seeking next steps.

ARP: St. Louis MO, Signed a Bill to Use American Rescue Plan Funds for Abortion Access

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill to use American Rescue Plan money for abortion access. With Missouri’s trigger law taking effect in June after the Supreme Court ruled abortion unconstitutional, abortions are banned unless the health of the mother is in danger with no exceptions for rape or incest. Jones approved the use of $1 million in ARPA funds to assist with travel and childcare for those seeking an abortion out-of-state, and an additional $500,000 will go toward other reproductive healthcare services. “A few weeks ago, I stood in this very spot, and I said I would fight like hell to make sure St. Louisans can access the reproductive health care they need,” said Jones during the signing ceremony. “Today, we won the first round in the ring.”

ARP: Phoenix AZ, Improving Public Health with Mobile COVID Testing and Vaccination Units

From the beginning of the pandemic, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has centered her response on a simple question: How can we get resources to our residents? Rather than have residents come to a centralized location for services, the mayor and her team brought the services to the community.

 The mayor’s office is particularly excited about an innovative, high-impact health program that grew out of the pandemic and is now being funded by ARP.

The office created mobile COVID testing and vaccination units to bring services to areas where they can have a big impact. City officials partner with community leaders, such as pastors, to make getting COVID tests and vaccines as easy as possible. By working with and being invited into communities by trusted partners, the city is able to have a bigger impact than going it alone. With ARP funding, the unit administered tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests and thousands of COVID-19 vaccines.

The city has used the same concept to initiate a mobile workforce development unit, allowing residents to get help with resumes in their neighborhoods, and even take part in Zoom interviews with potential employers. 

ARP: Richmond Invests in Health Care Equity

Mayor Levar Stoney proposed a bold Equity Agenda for the city’s American Rescue Plan allocation and over the summer put these funds into action through the Health Equity Fund and Positive Youth Development Fund. The Health Equity Fund awarded $230,000 in its first round of grants to programs serving vulnerable residents and that also fill in gaps of service, such as providing clinical mental health services in satellite centers directly in the community. In June, the city announced partnerships with 37 youth organizations that will receive grants from the Positive Youth Development Fund to provide positive youth development and youth violence prevention opportunities.

ARP: Defending Reproductive Freedoms

Alderwoman Annie Rice sponsored Board Bill Number 61 that provides $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help women get out-of-state abortions. ARPA funds will cover transportation, childcare, and other logistical costs to help women receive abortions outside of Missouri. “We’re not going quietly here. We’re going to do everything within our power to make sure they have the healthcare access that they need,” Rice said. In addition, the bill will allocate $500,000 towards other reproductive health services such as access to doulas and lactation support.