The City of Holyoke recently closed its latest round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant applications. The American Rescue Plan Act provided funding to municipalities to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency.
More than 80 applications were submitted to the City of Holyoke for ARPA funding in this latest round, with the total project requests amounting to over $62 million. Funding is a competitive process, and the City of Holyoke has partnered with nonprofit public health institute, Health Resources in Action (HRiA) to implement a process that promotes equity and transparency to allocate the remaining $20 million in ARPA funds. Requests included housing development, water and sewer infrastructure, economic development, small business support, public services, municipal projects, broad band and more.
In partnership with HRiA, the City of Holyoke has collected feedback and data from city residents and businesses to inform how we prioritize funding to achieve long-term impact and growth for the city. Data was collected through a range of forums including resident and business surveys, the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), the ARPA Statements of Interests, Mayoral advisory councils, and community meetings.
The City of Holyoke will prioritize ARPA investments into projects that align with the values and fundamental beliefs of our residents, businesses, and city employees. These values have been refined through the iterative data collection process and community feedback venues over the past six months and include:
- Long-term thinking towards growth and sustainability
- People first: socially responsible investments that benefit the community as a whole and individual health
- Centering on populations that have been historically underserved and were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an eye towards root causes
- Accountability to increase transparency
- Economic and racial equity
- Effective resource utilization and distribution
- Community safety
The City of Holyoke is dedicated to ensuring a transparent and fair evaluation process for grant applications. This involves using a rubric with clear criteria based on the feedback and data collected from previous outreach and community forums. After completed applications are compiled and reviewed for statutory eligibility, they will be forwarded to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and City Council for consideration. Both panels will evaluate and consider the pool of applicants. There will also be a month-long public comment period, during which the community can provide feedback. The results from all of these steps will inform the Mayor’s final decision on the grant awards.