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January 13, 2023

Boulder County ARPA News, January 2022/Noticias ARPA del Condado de Boulder, enero de 2022

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ARPA Newsletter 003 | January 2023 |


Did You Know?How Boulder County is Responding to Climate Change

Mental Health and Social ResilienceAAA After School Program: Much-Needed Help for Kids and Families

Housing AffordabilityHousing Possibilities to Change the Lives of Boulder County Residents

Economic Challenges Survive and Thrive Program Update

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American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investments are making an impact in our Boulder County communities by providing resources to people who were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this newsletter, we will share examples of the ARPA-supported work that is underway. We invite you to visit for additional information.


People living in Boulder County are already experiencing the effects of climate change in the form of high heat days, extreme weather, drought, poor air quality, and devastating wildfires. As a global leader in climate action, Boulder County is committed to the transformation needed to fight the climate crisis and adapt to its impacts. Through initiatives that foster innovation, coalition-building, and equitable outcomes, Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience (OSCAR) is working to reduce emissions, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and support systemic change to fight the climate crisis. Learn more at

Planet Earth

Interested in protecting our environment or acting on climate change? Here are five ways to get involved:

1. Consider installing a heat pump: Installing a heat pump in your home is one of the easiest ways for homeowners to cut their fossil fuel use. Visit the EnergySmart website to access rebates, incentives, and no-cost advising services that will help you get the information you need to install a heat pump in your own home:

2. Consider switching to an electric vehicle. Learn more at or sign up for Boulder County's EV newsletter to stay up to date on electric car information, deals, and incentives:

3. Eat at a restaurant participating in Restore Colorado. Using one of the USDA’s first-ever urban agriculture grants, Boulder County teamed up with James Beard Award-winning nonprofit Zero Food print to launch Restore Colorado.

Participating restaurants raise funds for regenerative agriculture projects that improve soil health on local farms and ranches. For a list of restaurants and businesses visit

4. Learn how you can protect the Boulder St. Vrain watershed. Visit for simple ways you can prevent stormwater pollution from home. 5. Stay informed. Keep up to date with Boulder County climate and sustainability news by following OSCAR on Instagram ( Twitter (, or Facebook (

AAA After School Program: Much-Needed Help for Kids and Families

Do you remember when the COVID-19 school closures happened?

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic was rapidly spreading, and the need to limit the exposure to the virus was imminent. Schools were the center of attention in February when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement warning about school closures.

Teachers and administrative personnel were quickly put in a bind. Schools had to explore other options than in-person teaching.

By the end of March, all U.S. public school buildings were closed. The shift to distance learning took all the effort of educators and parents to find some sense of normality in the middle of this new situation.

kid in front of the computer for distance learning

As parents learned new ways to work from home while supporting their children's learning journey, the school system had to follow the "do it all" approach to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus. When schools reopened, teachers had to balance adhering to safety and health protocols, planning to make up for the pandemic's learning losses, and the ever-present concern about the pandemic's socio-emotional effects on students.

The St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) in Boulder County saw the challenge of a disrupted school year as an opportunity to reinforce the relationships between students and educators. With the goal of providing opportunities beyond the regular daily school schedule, SVVSD launched the Achievement Acceleration Academy (AAA) in 2021, an after-school program to provide in-person instructional support and enrichment in language arts, math, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for students. "AAA was put in place to provide not only extra time with teachers but also to address some gaps in students' learning that may have occurred as a result of the COVID loss, as well as to provide them with some information front-loading so when they get to class the next day, or that week, they already have some background information and knowledge about what's being taught," said Cathy O'Donnell, St. Vrain Valley AAA Program Manager.

Kids running with backpaks to schools

SVVSD is the educational home of more than 33,000 of Colorado’s students, providing continuity of educational programs to help children and parents with learning opportunities, especially after the pandemic with the transition from in-home classes to full-time school activities. "Children were experiencing a lot of disruption in their lives at home with family, with jobs, with housing, etc. The pandemic helped us see how much of a stabilizing force a school is," noted Hilary Sontag, Executive Director of Advancement & Strategic Partnerships at St. Vrain Valley. "In St. Vrain, we value the social and emotional well-being of our students and their mental health by providing them with a lot of opportunities for joy and connection."

The AAA program is helping students reconnect and find opportunities to thrive. "Part of the students' social and emotional well-being revolves around how they feel academically," added O'Donnell. "When the children came back to the classroom, they felt out of the loop, and we knew there was a gap from their in-person attendance. The disconnect from the schooling was evident, so AAA specifically was put in place to manage all the issues."

In 2021, when Boulder County collaborated in the community engagement and planning process with the participation of partners, a county-wide survey helped to identify the main concerns for Boulder County residents during the pandemic. Economic Challenges, Housing Affordability, and Mental Health and Social Resilience emerged as the focus areas for immediate attention. The partnership with SVVSD and the AAA school program is one of the Mental Health and Social Resilience initiatives Boulder County has funded through ARPA.

ARPA resources lift school community efforts to prevent isolation, strengthen the support system for parents and kids, and provide continuity of services for youth mental health. As Cathy O’Donnell noted, "The educators are seeing the growth in students that might otherwise struggle. Having these kids in smaller groups gives teachers the opportunity to have one-on-one interventions. With the program extending kids' school time, they get a snack, get a little social time, and get instructional time. It's an awesome opportunity!"

St. Vrain Valley also has a summer extension program that provides continuity for students with teachers who already have a connection with them. The AAA program has around 1,500 students who are participating in the after-school services for tutoring or other academic support. For more information about SVVSD’s school programs, visit

Housing Possibilities to Change the Lives of Boulder County Residents

family smiling in a home

The dream of owning a home is, for many families, a major milestone. Home ownership represents a sense of achievement, stability, community, and generational growth. However, the housing crisis across the United States, deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic, impacted many communities. In Boulder County, the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 worsened the struggles families already had before the pandemic in trying to find affordable prices to rent or purchase a property.

Boulder County's approach to promoting housing affordability with the investment of funds made possible from the federal American Rescue Plan Act is to expand homeownership, perform needed home repairs, and invest in projects to improve living conditions for families experiencing financial hardships.

mobile home

Manufactured Housing Park Acquisitions and Upgrades is one of the Housing Affordability programs approved in 2022 by the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

For renters and owners alike, the housing crisis was a top concern, according to the responses of the 2021 survey organized by Boulder County, in which residents were asked about the needs and impacts of the pandemic.

The Housing Affordability projects are part of Boulder County’s response to boost housing affordability and stability. For more information on the process to collect community feedback and the community engagement process, visit

The Manufactured Housing Park Acquisitions and Upgrades goal is to create a reserve fund to supply grants or zero-interest forgivable loans to provide partial support for:

Acquisition of manufactured housing parks by residents
Infrastructure improvements
Home repair assistance

The program will support residents of mobile home parks in their move to Resident Owned Communities (ROCs) when their park is offered for sale.

The following are the key benefits of the transition to ROCs:

Differences between Mobile Home Parks and ROCs

While transitioning to ROCs requires a lot of compromise from mobile home park residents, with the right partnerships a greater sense of stability is just the beginning of the story for these communities. "When parks go for sale, instead of having a corporate owner purchase the park, Boulder County will support residents to purchase the land,” said Rachel Arndt, Interim Manufactured Housing Program Manager. “This type of support is done either through grants or low-interest loans to lower the total purchase price of the park for the residents. We hope to work with other partners, like municipalities, to find other funding sources to support these efforts.”

The homeownership achievement strategy has already yielded successful partnerships with organizations like Thistle, a small nonprofit association dedicated to the planning, development, and management of affordable housing, and Together Colorado, a nonpartisan, multi-racial, and multi-faith community organization. Together Colorado strives to place human dignity at the center of public life. The nonprofit has experience in mobile home park resident organizing and training local community members to act on their own behalf on the issues that most deeply impact their lives.

Besides supporting resident homeownership in manufactured housing parks, infrastructure improvements are part of the strategies to improve residents' living conditions. "Over time, owners of mobile home parks deferred maintenance of the infrastructure, including with their water and sewer lines," Arndt said. "The structures get old and deteriorate, so they need investment to be brought back up to a good standard."

The county will also leverage funding for home repair assistance for low-income residents in these communities who are more in need. This community effort requires not only understanding the individual needs of the mobile home park residents but also identifying the characteristics of those households to leverage resources and make sure funds are distributed in an equitable way at every stage of the process.

Don’t miss the progress and success of these community projects in future newsletters. Subscribe to

Survive and Thrive Grant Program Update

One of the larger projects within the Economic Challenges area of ARPA funding is the Survive and Thrive Grant program for non-profits and childcare-focused small businesses. The project team is currently working to empanel two workgroups focused on designing the program.

One workgroup will focus on the childcare small businesses and business support grants and the other will concentrate efforts on developing the non-profit sector program. Original members of the first Economic Challenges workgroup will be invited to participate and then those who applied but were not selected to participate in the original workgroups will be solicited. We hope to be able to share more information on the workgroups and program progress in next month’s newsletter.

Boulder County ARPA Job Opportunities:

Boulder County is hiring for new positions in public service programs funded by ARPA. To learn more about these opportunities, visit the job link at Boulder County Careers.

Mobile Home Park Initiatives Project Manager: The Mobile Home Park Initiatives Project Manager is a new position that will report to the HHS Housing Partnerships and Policy Manager and will help align and coordinate county resources to better support mobile home park residents; collaboratively identify, develop, and implement approaches to support alignment of policies across Boulder County; increase mobile home park outreach and support for community organizing; and increase case management and service navigation and increase opportunities for repair, restoration, rebuilding or transformation of mobile home parks. Follow this link to see more.
HHS ARPA Team Program Specialist II: The Program Specialist will work within a Special Projects Unit to create and implement projects directed at the most impacted members of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with federal ARPA regulations. Follow this link to see more.
HHS ARPA Team Contract Liaison: The HHS ARPA Contract Specialist will work within a Special Projects Unit to create and coordinate almost $35 million in ARPA contracts. The Contract Specialist will work closely with the project team, finance, and other internal county departments to ensure contract effectiveness and compliance and provide technical assistance to support the contract process. Additionally, this role will work closely with contractors and grantees to ensure data are collected and evaluated to promote effectiveness of the programs implemented.