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Mayor Janey proposes $50 million emergency relief plan, funded through the American Rescue Plan

Boston expects to receive over $500 million in federal funds to support the City’s recovery from the pandemic through the end of 2024.

Mayor Kim Janey today announced that she has proposed a $50 million emergency relief plan to support an equitable recovery and reopening for Boston residents, workers and small businesses, using funding the City of Boston has received from the federal government following the passage of the American Rescue Plan. As part of Mayor Janey’s commitment to an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, funding will be allocated to City and community programs and initiatives, focused on public health, the economy and resources for individuals hardest hit by the pandemic. Filed with the Boston City Council, the funding will be available with its passage. Boston expects to receive over $500 million through the American Rescue Plan to support the City’s recovery from the pandemic through the end of 2024, with millions in other federal funds going directly to our schools and rental relief efforts.

“I am pleased to announce that, over the next five years, Boston will receive over $500 million in American Rescue Funding to support an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Janey. “I look forward to working with Council President Pro Tempore Matt O’Malley, Ways and Means Chairperson Kenzie Bok, the Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Committee Chairperson Michael Flaherty, and the rest of the members of the Boston City Council to address the inequities that were here before COVID-19.”

The $50 million emergency relief plan will focus on the following priority areas:

$10 million to support public health response:

  • $7 million for COVID-19 response including mobile vaccine and testing operations and outreach
  • $3 million for behavioral health and substance use, including funding for opioid treatment and services

$10 million for communities most impacted by COVID-19:

  • $5 million for investments in affordable housing and housing navigation services
    • $4.6 million for acquisition of occupied buildings to prevent displacement
    • $400,000 for housing navigation assistance and stabilization services 
  • $3.5 million for addressing health disparities and social determinants of health 
    • $2.5 million to tackle key gaps in social determinants of health, as outlined by the Health Inequities Task Force
    • $1 million for community violence intervention programs
  • $1 million for supporting childcare and early learning initiatives 
  • $500,000 for supporting language access, communications, and evaluation

$14.5 million to address the economic impact of the pandemic on food access, housing, arts, culture, and tourism:

  • $4 million for arts and culture, including $3 million for the creative economy industry to help working artists reopen safely and $1 million to support other projects and creative professionals across the city 
  • $3.1 million for programs strengthening homeownership and supporting individuals facing housing insecurity
  • $3 million for food access and equity, including initiatives to support community-based solutions, expand local growing spaces, pilot an affordable community supported agriculture (CSA) model, provide assistance with applying to safety-net programs, and destigmatize utilization of food resources
  • $2.4 million for expanding digital equity and access, including an initiative to integrate digital literacy training into job training programs to meet labor market needs
  • $1 million for basic needs assistance for families not eligible for previous COVID-19 benefits
  • $1 million to expand reach of All-Inclusive Boston campaign and support the tourism industry 

$15.5 million for small business relief:

  • $8 million to build on previous small business funds and create a new, flexible grant fund designed to help small businesses cover expenses related to their reopening, recovery, and growth
  • $7.5 million to meet existing demand for the Commercial Rental Relief Fund, designed to stabilize small businesses and prevent commercial displacement due to the pandemic

The allocation of this immediate funding was guided by the City of Boston’s Equitable Recovery Coordinating Committee (ERCC), which is being formed to ensure the equitable and efficient coordination of stimulus resources for the short- and long-term benefit of Boston residents, with an intentional focus on those who have been hurt most by the pandemic. The ERCC is steered by City leadership, with additional representation across City departments and external stakeholders. 

The ERCC will continue to be informed by residents and community stakeholders. The $50 million emergency relief fund represents nearly 10 percent of the overall $500 million federal investment that Boston expects to receive through 2024. The City of Boston will launch a citywide engagement process and work with the people of Boston to program the remaining federal funds. 

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