Seizing the opportunity for equitable recovery through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

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ARPA resources offer the opportunity for investment that can transform communities across Massachusetts, specifically in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and others most impacted by marginalization and health inequities. HRiA, with funding from the Barr Foundation, is partnering with community groups, residents, and local governments to collaboratively advocate for and advance equitable recovery through our ARPA POWER initiative.

What is ARPA?

Once-in-a-lifetime resources are flowing into communities across Massachusetts through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law in March 2021. ARPA funds are not only an opportunity to advance equity, but an imperative: by Federal rules, ARPA investments are required to promote equitable outcomes. Within the ARPA bill, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund provides financial resources for states, municipalities, tribes, and territories for local government split between municipalities and counties. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is receiving approximately $8.7 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, with $5.3 billion allotted to state government and about $3.4 billion going directly to municipalities in Massachusetts.

Funding in Massachusetts is being spent in many areas including housing, health and human services, infrastructure, education, and economic development.  Local governments should be engaging with community groups and residents, with a focus on those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, to set priorities and make community defined investments.

Our Approach to Promoting Equitable Outcomes

  • Increasing power to decide (not just provide input), thereby changing the culture of decision-making within local governments and who has the power to change conditions in communities.
  • Building capacity within local governments to collaborate with residents who have been intentionally excluded or disenfranchised from government budgeting processes.
  • Directing ARPA investments to improve social and physical environments and change systems that are not working for – and sometimes harm – people.

Our ARPA-related Services

Communities are choosing different approaches to resident engagement that advance equity. HRiA provides a spectrum of services and resources based on your needs.

  • Intensive Partnership. HRiA supports the design of comprehensive community engagement strategies including hands-on facilitation of meetings and engagements with residents. See some of the work we have done in communities around the Commonwealth:
  • Capacity building. We provide tailored training and support on tools and mechanisms for resident engagement as well as public transparency and accountability on the use of ARPA funds
  • Tools, Resources, and Best Practices. Informed by lessons learned in local communities, HRiA will develop and share tools and resources to support community engagement in ARPA decision-making, available to anyone.

Contact Us or sign up for more information

If your community:

  • Is interested in collaborating with HRiA in advocating for ARPA resources,
  • Has questions about ARPA dollars, and/or
  • Would like to talk through investment approaches that center equity and community engagement