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June 14, 2022

Boulder County Board of County Commissioners Approves $36.5M in Second Round of Funds for COVID-19 Recovery


Projects funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds will address economic challenges, housing affordability, and mental health and social resilience.


Boulder County, Colo. -- After a county-wide community engagement process, the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) today, June 14, 2022, approved the investment of $36,500,000 in a second round of federal ARPA funds for programs that will help people who live and work in Boulder County. The approved projects aim to address the negative economic and public health impacts of the pandemic and to focus efforts on those disproportionately affected by those impacts. Boulder County received a total allocation of $63,359,749 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, of which the BOCC approved a first round of $ 5,546,010 for immediate needs on October 27, 2021.

“We are committed to investments that will address pandemic recovery in housing, mental health and economic challenges brought forth by our local communities,” Commissioner Marta Loachamin said. The Boulder County ARPA Working Group members were generous in sharing their time and expertise in the work, and I am very appreciative of their contributions. These funds will provide relief and create positive change for Boulder County residents who have been facing social, economic, mental, and other hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This second list of approved projects includes, among others, a Direct Cash Assistance model for families with children 0 to 3 years old that has been shown to lift families out of poverty. An Equitable Access Front Door model to mental and behavioral health resources will allow community members to seek care in an array of ways and locations, and community trainings will help reduce stigma and increase awareness surrounding mental health. The complete list and descriptions of the programs are posted on www.boco.org/ARPA.

In addition to the funds directed to relieve Boulder County’s economic challenges and mental health and social resilience, we are excited about the investments in housing projects aimed at increasing and preserving affordable housing, including a program for the acquisition of mobile home parks by their residents,” added Commissioner Claire Levy. “This investment in housing affordability not only ensures housing security but also is an opportunity to build financial security and wealth for resident-owners of parks.”

The investment of ARPA funds is centered on an equitable recovery that addresses racial, health, and economic disparities. “In the process, we relied on the expertise and experiences of the working group members to develop strong proposals that can have the greatest impact,” stated Commissioner Matt Jones. “Each one of the proposals required us to consider many factors in order to approve projects that are viable and impactful to best support impacted residents and a strong recovery from the pandemic.

The following is a list of projects approved:

  1. Economic Challenges: Up to $13,500,000
    Survive and Thrive: Nonprofit Grants: Up to $7,500,000
    Direct Cash Assistance to Families with Young Children: $6,000,000
  2. Housing Affordability: $12,000,000
    Affordable Housing Pipeline: $7,000,000
    Manufactured Housing Park Acquisition and Upgrades: $5,000,000
  3. Mental Health and Social Resilience: $11,000,000
    Community Mobile Response Teams: $3,000,000
    Community-Wide Navigation Hub: $3,000,000
    Equitable Access (Front Door Model) – Community-Based Grants: $3,000,000
    Equitable Access (Front Door Model) – Mental Health Vouchers: $1,000,000
    Equitable Access (Front Door Model) – School-Based Services: $500,000
    Equitable Access (Front Door Model) – Community Trainings: $500,000

Boulder County has received half of its total allocation of $63,359,749 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, with the second half anticipated in June or July 2022, for pandemic recovery and relief through 2026 for projects obligated by the end of 2024.

Background

The Board’s decisions are informed by an extensive community engagement process, beginning with a county-wide survey in 2021 to identify the top challenges for Boulder County residents amid the pandemic and leading to a working group process in spring 2022 to develop proposals to address those challenges. Economic Challenges, Housing Affordability, and Mental Health and Social Resilience were the top issues identified by Boulder County residents. Working groups which included community members, nonprofit and business leaders, advocates, policy experts, and county staff and leadership met from February to May 2022 to study the three issue areas and develop proposals to address the challenges. Proposals were presented to the Board at a public hearing on May 3. Proposed projects not approved on June 14 are still under consideration.

For more information, updates, and next steps about Boulder County’s allocation of local government ARPA funding go to boco.org/arpa.

-BoulderCounty.org-


Headshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo