Maricopa County begins distributing latest federal COVID-19 aid

Maricopa County announced how they plan to use $435 million of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) to aid those impacted by the pandemic.

The Board of Supervisors approved the plans at the same time as the fiscal year 2022 budget.

Congress passed the ARP to give communities money to address public health and economic recovery issues that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was met with criticism after many states learned of unexpected budget surpluses.

“Maricopa County took immediate and aggressive action to ease the pain of our citizens during the worst of the pandemic,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1, said in a news release Wednesday. “Now, using ARPA money, we will build on the experience we have implementing targeted, successful assistance programs to support small business owners, seniors and persons with disabilities, folks struggling to get a job or pay bills, and people who are experiencing homelessness.”

Under the new plan, $136 million will go to continued COVID-19 responses efforts, $60 million will contribute to supporting businesses, $40 million will provide Arizonans with housing, $25 million will go to workforce support, and $20 million will help rent and mortgage assistance.

Maricopa County hopes to end the pandemic by increasing vaccination rates. They purchased vehicles to distribute the vaccine to hard-to-reach populations. The funds will also bolster a county vaccination education initiative and establish two new public health clinics in the Southwest and East Valleys.

The county will focus on providing small businesses with grants, loans, and technical assistance.  Maricopa County will invest $30 million to develop and support affordable housing in the region to help offset the recent increase in home and rent prices, with the remaining $10 million going towards home repairs.

Maricopa County will continue to offer short-term rent and mortgage payments to families in need in addition to longer-term case management to lead residents towards self-sufficiency.  Additional focus areas for the ARP funding include $23.5 million for services related to behavioral health and addiction recovery, $15 million to support seniors and persons with disabilities, $15 million to support people impacted by domestic violence, and $12 million to address issues related to homelessness.

“How we treat and respond to these members of our community not only says a lot about who we are as public servants, but will also determine the speed and extent to which Maricopa County can bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Sellers said.

This article was originally posted on Maricopa County begins distributing latest federal COVID-19 aid

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