The American Rescue Plan & Older Adults: Opportunities and Resources for Local Leaders — a free, 31-page downloadable report prepared by Funkhouser & Associates in partnership with AARP — provides an overview of the Department of Treasury’s guidance and highlights the ways local leaders can use the act to address community needs related to transit and mobility; open spaces; high-speed internet access; water, sewer and utility systems; housing and health.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 — also referred to as the American Rescue Plan or ARPA — was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. In May, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released its initial guidance, called the Interim Final Rule, which included some 150 pages of background, reasoning, spending categories and accounting guidelines for administering the legislation.
The funds are “intended to provide support to state, local and Tribal governments responding to the impact of COVID–19 and in their efforts to contain COVID–19 on their communities, residents, and businesses.” As part of that mission, the ARPA provides local government leaders with the chance to enhance the economic resilience of their communities by tapping resources that address persistent challenges while finding new and innovative solutions.
As local leaders weigh opportunities and make forward-looking investments, it’s critical that spending decisions represent the voices of people of all ages, abilities, races and incomes. Input from the community can be ensured through a strong public engagement process.