Amara Andrews Plan for American Rescue Plan Act Funding
Andrews’ Plan encourages city to be transparent, focus on helping people, businesses recover
As the city prepares to receive $27 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, it is important that our government exercise transparency and prioritize the needs of families and small businesses. In addition, we must make strategic investments in other segments of our community to ensure a swift recovery, and a prosperous future.
Exercising transparency means hosting forums and town halls across the community, so that our government can hear from the people, and get a better idea about what our neighborhoods actually need. This money belongs to the people, which means their voices ought to be heard.
Prioritizing the needs of families and small businesses calls for the comprehensive approach I am proposing, which mirrors the three pillars of my campaign: recovery, economy, and community.
A major part of our recovery has to do with repairing the human welfare infrastructure of this city. We know that the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic significantly reduced the amount of funding many non-profit organizations receive. These organizations provide critical support services for education, individuals experiencing substance use issues, homelessness, and mental illness. Helping these non-profits recover by providing direct financial assistance will not only help our most vulnerable residents, but it will also help repair the larger social fabric of our community.
We know that large corporations were better able to weather the economic storm brought about by the pandemic than small and mid-size businesses. While there is a role for our city to play in helping shore up some of our larger institutional corporations, we must continue to make smart investments in both our start-up ecosystem, and our existing small businesses. Restoring an economic ecosystem that allows for innovation and leverages the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is a key ingredient for future growth. Supporting our small businesses through unrestricted grant programs will help them become the large corporations of the future that will hire more residents and reinvest back into our community.
As we work to get our businesses up and running, we must also make adequate investments in our workforce. We can work to open “opportunity centers,” that can exist as virtual portals or walk-in clinics where individuals can receive information about critical resources and other work supports to help them find gainful employment, or further supplement their employment situation. These opportunity centers would address barriers to employment like transportation, childcare, and training. In addition, the city must consider investing in our long-term infrastructure needs, to better connect our communities and our local economy.
I am confident that this comprehensive approach can serve as a roadmap for recovery, as well as a catalyst that helps us achieve a 21st century economy, where people and businesses thrive. We are grateful to the Biden Administration for appropriating these funds to our community. We owe it to the people to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars, while charting a course toward greater prosperity.