Providence finalizes plan to speculate $124M in federal COVID cash

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed a spending plan for $124 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding Friday, paving the best way for town to speculate tens of tens of millions of {dollars} into housing and infrastructure initiatives.

“It goes to support a bunch of different, really important initiatives,” Elorza advised 12 News throughout a reside interview simply hours after signing the ordinance. “But the most important thing is the housing crisis, really the housing affordability crisis in the city.”

The price range allocates practically $31 million to housing, together with $17 million for reasonably priced housing growth.

“We’re going to be able to invest in hopefully the creation of hundreds of affordable units, which also allows for the creation of other market units over the coming years,” Elorza mentioned. “So this is going to be a gift that keeps on giving.”

In addition to housing, town is allocating roughly $20 million in direction of investments in water, sewer, broadband and infrastructure; $24 million towards addressing neighborhood and social disparities; $6.2 million within the restoration of sectors like tourism and hospitality; and $2.8 million in financial stabilization.

The metropolis can be placing greater than $36 million in ARPA cash in direction of misplaced public sector income.

The spending plan additionally earmarks $10 million for reparations by means of one thing known as the “COVID-19 Equities Program.” A committee is presently reviewing how precisely to spend that cash.

“Reparations can take a lot of different shapes,” Elorza mentioned. “We know that $10 million is not enough. We can’t right all the wrongs of the past, but we can take an important first step.”

Elorza mentioned it stays to be seen whether or not direct money funds shall be a part of the plan, however mentioned he thinks an important technique to make investments the cash is to assist construct up wealth for Black households and handle historic discrimination in neighborhoods the place Black householders may need been compelled to promote or had been prevented from shopping for houses prior to now.

“I’m excited about this,” he mentioned of the reparations. “Providence is on the cutting edge of this.”

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