In May, NewDEAL Leaders will head to Detroit for our annual Ideas Summit. The conference brings together outside experts and pragmatic, pro-growth elected officials to discuss innovative solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing issues like education, high-speed internet access, climate change, and more.
Michigan was not selected at random to host the event. Leaders like Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are on the forefront of the fight to strengthen our elections. Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist has been at the forefront of efforts to invest in broadband and childcare. The new legislature is addressing critical issues such as gun safety, LGBTQ equality, and access to reproductive health care, while cities across the state are also creating models for effective governance.
And, for the past several years, the state has used funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March, 2021, to help the residents and businesses not just recover from the COVID pandemic, but to lay the foundation for a brighter future. At both the state and local levels, elected officials have invested in transformational programs that are seeing big results. Here are a few examples from the first two years of ARPA investments:
- Statewide: Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist announced $83.8 million in grant funding from the Revitalization and Placemaking Program (RAP) for 22 statewide affordable housing and community development projects. The Michigan Strategic Fund provided $100 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to RAP, which supports infrastructure, housing, and revitalization investments across every region in the state. Eligible projects will promote population and tax revenue growth to address negative economic impacts of COVID-19 in downtowns, social zones, and public spaces.
- Statewide: To make childcare more accessible and affordable, Michigan invested $370 million in more than 5,500 child care centers, group homes, and tribal centers. Additionally, 38,000 full- and part-time child care professionals have received up to $1,000 in bonuses. Lt. Gov. Gilchrist has also helped advance the “Caring for Mi Future” plan, which will open 2,000 new child care classrooms in pursuit of Governor Whitmer’s goal to make preschool free by 2027.
- Oakland County: County Executive David Coulter’s education and workforce development program, Oakland80, has helped more than 700 people, including by providing more than 200 residents with in-depth counseling, coaching, and education services. The goal of the program is to help 80 percent of county residents obtain a post-high school degree or professional credential by 2030.
- Grand Rapids: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss launched a Homeless Outreach Team. This effort, which includes police, firefighters, and mental health workers, provides supportive relationships for people impacted by homelessness. Thus far, the team has effectively advocated to lower barriers to enter shelters, established a storage pilot program, and worked with other organizations to provide a space for showers. The program has resulted in over 7,000 street outreach contacts, including 200 residents diverted from jails and emergency departments, and 142 people referred for substance use disorder and mental health treatment.
- Lansing: Mayor Andy Schor and the city council agreed to invest $2 million into community groups to boost their impact. Schor focused on getting funds to organizations providing services to diverse demographics and locations within the city, such as helping those experiencing housing and food insecurity, supporting initiatives for LGBTQ+ youth and other youth education programs, and improving access to health care.
From the coasts to the heartland, leaders have invested resources from the American Rescue Plan’s state and local recovery funds in programs focused on health care, education, job training, economic development, and so much more. In part due to these strategic investments, America has seen record-breaking job growth, adding more than 12 million jobs since January 2021.
If you are interested in additional stories about how the American Rescue Plan has helped Americans in communities from Beaverton, Oregon to Richmond, Virginia to Lincoln, Nebraska and many more, check out the NewDEAL’s new ARPA resource page.