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The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a once in a lifetime $1.9 trillion fiscal relief bill passed by the U.S. Congress on March 11, 2021, to continue the United States’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initial relief came from the CARES Act in 2020, in which funding focused on COVID-19 pandemic-related activities and equipment such as personal protective equipment.
Unlike the CARES Act, the ARP is delivering $350 billion directly to states, cities, counties and tribal governments.
This funding is intended to help replace lost revenue and allow impacted agencies and local governments to strategically invest in technology and services.
The guidelines of how funds can be utilized are much broader than those seen with the CARES Act and include technology investments such as CAD, 911 or community development solutions that can be used to prepare for future public health emergencies.
Additionally, the ARP includes smaller municipalities that were not allowed access to funding in the CARES Act.
Two paths to funding
1. Advocate for your share
The ARP is a direct formula grant, which means recipients do not have to submit a formal application to obtain funds. Local governments will receive funds directly and determine allocations based on local community needs.
ARP funds must be used by December 31, 2024, which allows your agency or local government time to think strategically about not only what needs exist today for potential technology investments but the longer-term impact this opportunity could have on your community.
For this path, public safety and public administration leaders need to approach their local leadership like it is a competitive grant. This means advocating for your agency and presenting a persuasive proposal to your leadership (i.e., mayor, city council) for the technology investment.
Be strategic in your request. Explain the financial loss caused by the pandemic and connect your proposed technology project to actual COVID-19 response or revenue loss. Explain in detail why you need the funds – and what will happen if you do not get them.
The ARP funding guidelines are purposefully broad so that localities can determine priorities, which may include an emergency technology purchase to help you respond to community emergencies faster or improve community development, but could include:
- Finance enterprise
- Community development
- Asset management
2. Competitive grants
While ARP funds are directly allocated to cities, states and local governments without an application process, part of the ARP also provides additional funding to existing government grants, such as:
- $200 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER)
- $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grant
- $772.5 million for tribal government services
For this path, the first step is to locate potential funding opportunities and take care of needed pre-registrations. Every year there is more than $600 billion in nationwide grants available to categories such as:
- Support public health response
- Replace public sector revenue loss
- Water and sewer infrastructure
- Address negative economic impacts
- Premium pay for essential workers
- Broadband infrastructure
Once you have identified the grant opportunity, you will need to prepare your budget, outline financial need and gather qualitative and quantitative examples that demonstrate the need. Involve stakeholders early and often and make sure you have identified the authorized organizational representative. To increase chances of success, engage a grants partner to help you through the process.
CentralSquare’s complimentary grants assistance program
CentralSquare provides free, unlimited and customized grants assistance to help customers find applicable grants and secure additional funding for their budgets. There are three ways to engage:
1. Access grant database: Tap into the most extensive grant listing database available, GrantFinder, to easily identify the best grant to fit your agency’s needs.
2. Grant consulting: Unlimited, personalized grant research assistance and coaching from our team of grant experts specific to your agency’s project.
3. Grant application help: Let our grant experts help you best position your grant application for success with detailed application reviews, editing or simply proofreading. Full-service grant writing services are available at discount pricing.
To access the above resources or for more information, visit centralsquare.com/arp.