(The Center Square) – Maricopa County announced it will use $435 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to help businesses impacted by the pandemic, along with those struggling with housing issues.
The board of supervisors approved the spending priorities and the 20222 fiscal year budget Wednesday.
“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. “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 go to providing Arizonans with housing, $25 million will go to workforce support and $20 million will support rent and mortgage assistance.
Maricopa County also took steps to increase vaccination rates by 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 and will invest $30 million to develop and support affordable housing in the region, with the remaining $10 million going towards home repairs.
It 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 areas of focus for the ARPA 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.