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Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Cleveland City Council lay out proposal for spending $102 million in ARPA funds

The spending initiatives include funding for public safety, housing, education, and modernizing Cleveland City Hall.

CLEVELAND — The city of Cleveland is finalizing its plan to spend the next round of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

On Monday, Cleveland City Council and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb's office announced plans to allocate over $102 million to 15 separate initiatives. The two sides met for over four hours in a caucus earlier in the day. The next step will be to create legislation that can be introduced to council at their September 12 meeting. 

“We believe we can introduce and pass legislation for these allocations in September," Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin said in a statement.

Here were the spending proposals that were laid out on Monday:

Housing for All

  • $35 million for a housing gap fund to provide grants and equity stake in projects to incentivize renovation and construction of affordable, workforce housing projects, mixed-income, and market rate projects.
  • $10 million for a home repair fund to create a network of new grants, deferred loans, and low-interest loan funds for home repair to close gaps in existing programs.
  • $5 million for a developer acquisition and rehab loan pool to create a revolving loan pool to provide low-interest capital for small, mostly minority contractors and CDCs seeking to rehab structures in places where private banks don't typically provide funding.

Violence Prevention & Public Safety

  • $5 million for CIT/co-responder program to expand the successfully piloted crisis intervention team/co-responder program, add a mental health dispatcher, and hire a senior-level strategist to connect mental health and public safety efforts.
  • $2.75 million to expand ShotSpotter technology to cover 13 square miles (33 percent of City residents) disproportionately affected by gun violence.
  • $2.3 million to outfit the CPD frontline vehicles with in-car dash cameras, including purchase of dash cams, installation, cloud storage, software license accounts, and equipment refresh for five years.

Inclusive Economic Recovery

  • $7.5 million for an Opportunity CLE Fund, contributing to a $50 million civic loan fund designed to promote inclusive and thriving neighborhoods by supporting real estate and business development projects in low-income communities in Cleveland.
  • $5 million for a minority business credit enhancement fund to create a revolving loan fund to provide flexible lines of credit to construction firms owned/led by historically underrepresented individuals in the construction industry, as well as to fund a technical assistance program.

Education for Everyone

  • $2.7 million to create a fund that will grow a pipeline of new early childcare educators and maintain the current labor force through sign-on and retention bonuses.
  • $1.88 million for an early childhood scholarship program to subsidize early childhood care while newly employed parents await enrollment in publicly funded programs.

Arts & Neighborhood Amenities

  • $3 million for a fund to stimulate investments for transformative arts projects with capital needs, with a focus in areas of high BIPOC populations that lack arts investment, developing areas with significant arts activity, and promoting increased walkability.

Modern City Hall

  • $16.35 million to for repairs and “greening” of City Hall, replacing the roof and insulation (which is causing interior damage), as well as fortifying City Hall's building envelope, exterior masonry, and windows--resulting in a greener building and energy savings.

COVID Relief

  • $300,000 to fund Dollars for Doses, an incentive program offering cash rewards to residents who get COVID vaccinations, aiming to boost rates in areas hit hardest by COVID and build up trust between residents and institutions.

Right to Counsel 

  • $1 million expand right to counsel, funding attorneys and other staff to provide free housing help to Cleveland residents, including extended representation in court, brief legal advice, and pro se help, as well as community outreach and education regarding services and support available to Cleveland residents.

Supporting victims of abuse

  • $4.7 million to increase coordination and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence and/or abuse.

“This first set of initiatives is incredibly strong, and has been thought through at every turn,” said Bibb in a statement. “The Center for Economic Recovery Team has done their due diligence to ensure that we are making the best and highest use of ARPA dollars to benefit Clevelanders in a sustainable way and where we need it the most. I look forward to working with them and with council to get these ideas across the finish line.”

Last month, Bibb announced his administration's spending priorities for ARPA funds. In his "Rescue & Transformation Plan," Bibb and his administration identified several key priorities and a process by which the funds will be invested. The Center for Economic Recovery is the policy team tasked with carrying out Bibb's plan.

According to council, Cleveland received the eighth-highest amount of ARPA funds of any municipality in the nation at just more than $511 million. Council allocated around $200 million last year, leaving roughly $310 million in funds remaining to utilize. 

“The federal government deemed we had an emergency,” Griffin added. “While we want to be thoughtful in how we allocate this funding and we wanted to wait for the new administration, we now must move forward and make decisions to help residents and businesses."

Bibb's office says the $102.5 million to be spent with his proposals would benefit nearly 285,000 Cleveland residents. The administration adds that it anticipates being able to attract $25 million in additional funding for these initiatives from various partners.

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