More federal COVID-19 recovery funds are being disbursed in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Mayor Domenic Sarno Tuesday announced a total of $ 3.3 million from the city’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is going to nearly two dozen businesses and organizations. It is the largest allocation of ARPA funds the city has made, so far, through a public application process.

“We’re trying to get these funds out ASAP,” Sarno said.

In two earlier rounds starting last December, the city gave a total of almost $ 905,000 to 11 small businesses and five non-profits. All of the businesses are minority or women-owned.

In announcing the latest round of ARPA funding awards at the offices of the Mental Health Association in Springfield, Sarno urged the recipients to use the money as leverage to seek additional ARPA funds that the state controls.

“I am dealing with millions of dollars, the state is sitting on $ 5.2 billion … so you can say to your state representatives or state senators that the Sarno administration has given us so much, we can get a little more from the state.” Sarno said.

MHA plans to use the $ 300,000 it received from the city to expand an outpatient clinic, said Cheryl Fasano, the organization’s president and CEO.

“It will also provide access to people who are under-insured and uninsured, so it will provide access to mental health services to people who cannot afford it,” said Fasano.

She estimated that MHF is seeing 10-times more referrals than before the pandemic.

Another Springfield-based mental health provider, Behavioral Health Network, received $ 500,000.

Caring Health Center was also awarded $ 500,000. It will be used to make structural repairs to the building that houses the organization’s clinic on Main Street in downtown Springfield.

The city awarded $ 150,000 to the Springfield Cultural Partnership. Board chair Eileen McCaffery said it will be used to provide stipends to artists who create messages promoting public health initiatives.

“From all the research, it comes down to trust,” McCaffery said. “So, who better than our artists who are trusted.”

One of the smaller awards in this funding round, $ 50,000, went to The Serenity Club. It is a venue for community-based drug and alcohol addiction recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and is planning to open a food pantry said the non-profit’s representative Charles Crump.

“There is a much larger demand since society started getting back on track,” Crump said.

Springfield received $ 123 million from $ 350 billion in federal APRA funds designated as direct aid to state and local governments.

In addition to the grants to small businesses and non-profits that now total more than $ 4.3 million, the city gave bonus pay totaling almost $ 5 million to municipal employees who had to work in-person through the pandemic lockdowns. $ 12 million is being set aside for a neighborhood recovery fund the city will start accepting applications for later this year. There is a new housing trust fund that will be financed initially with ARPA funds.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.