American Rescue Plan Act
FUNDS FOR THE FUTURE OF ST. PETE
In 2021, the City of St. Petersburg anticipated receiving approximately $45 million from President Biden's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The City sought community input on development of the spending allocation plan for ARPA funds during three in-person workshops at various locations, with virtual participation options. An initial allocation plan was developed in August 2021.
Since then, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact City residents. The City began, and continues to face, an historic increase in rents and housing costs, which has amplified the already existing strain on affordable housing. Increasingly, and with Emergency Rental Assistance dollars being quickly expended, City residents are experiencing housing insecurity and related health and social impacts.
In January 2022, Mayor Kenneth T. Welch was inaugurated and established five Pillars for Progress: Housing Opportunities for All; Neighborhood Health & Safety; Equitable Development, Arts & Business Opportunities; Education & Youth Opportunities; and Environment, Infrastructure & Resilience. Mayor Welch also established six Principles for Accountable and Responsible Government that center on being: In-touch; Inclusive; Innovative; Intentional Equity; Informed; and Impactful.
In February 2022, Mayor Welch and City Council revisited the ARPA allocation plan to address the affordable housing crisis and the health and social equity impacts more substantially. The allocation plan was adjusted and was presented to City Council in March 2022. The final allocation plan seeks to spend ARPA funds in the following categories:
- $34,303,505 for Housing Affordability and Support
- $11,110,365 for Health and Social Equity
The City has received its ARPA allocation and has identified specific projects in each of these categories. Generally, ARPA funds are available through December 2026.
Housing Affordability and Support
To address the affordable housing crisis in the City and align with Mayor Welch’s Pillar of Housing Opportunities for All, approximately 75% of the ARPA funds ($34.3 million) will be allocated to affordable housing and support.
Below are descriptions of the housing affordability and support projects identified for funding:
- $6.5 million for Deuces Housing and Community Development Project, including 24 units for households with incomes at 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
- $3.5 million for the Affordable Housing Gap Financing Project focusing on producing new rental units affordable for households with incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which will be combined with the $20.3 million described below.
- $20.3 million added to $3.5 million of general revenue funds for a total of $23.8 million for gap financing for the construction of multi-family affordable housing. The Request for Proposals was released on June 1, 2022. On Thursday, October 20, 2022, seven housing projects were approved by the St. Petersburg City Council. This $23.8 million allocation will combine with other local, state, and federal housing resources to produce close to 483 units for households with incomes at or below 80% AMI, with 408 of those reserved for households with income at or below 60% AMI. Two of these projects will target special populations such as people with disabilities and homeless individuals - and two projects will be for seniors. See the Council Agenda packet for more information here.
- Bear Creek Commons – 635 64th St S – 85 Units
- Innovare – 500 Dr. MLK St S – 50 Units
- Vincentian Village – 401 15th St N – 73 Units
- Skyway Lofts II – 3800 34th St S – 66 Units
- Ed White Senior Apartments – 2331 9th Ave N – 70 Units
- Burlington Post II – 3100 Burlington Ave N – 75 Units
- Flats on 4th – 106th Ave N/4th St N – 64 Units
- $2.5 million for scattered site family shelter. Society of St. Vincent DePaul South Pinellas, Inc. was selected from a Request for Proposals process and awarded a contract in April 2022. This program will serve homeless families with minor children experiencing a housing emergency through December 2024. Funding will allow for safe shelter, housing-focused intensive case management, and assistance in locating permanent housing.
- $1 million for permanent support services. Boley Centers, Inc. was selected from a Request for Proposals process and awarded a contract in May 2022. Boley Centers will provide case management and wrap-around services for permanent supportive housing for residents at or below 65% AMI through December 2024.
- $500,000 for the City’s administrative costs, including a full-time employee, through December 2026, to perform duties related to the ARPA Housing Affordability and Support initiatives and the City’s other housing programs.
Health and Social Equity
With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact City residents including mental health challenges, food insecurity, and other conditions, the City sought to strategically utilize approximately 25% of the ARPA funds ($11.1 million) to address root causes of these conditions and develop projects aligned with Mayor Welch’s Pillar of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and Pillar of Education and Youth Opportunities.
Below are descriptions of the health and social equity projects identified for funding:
- As a sub-recipient of $8.58 million in ARPA funds, Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF) will create a competitive solicitation process to establish a network of coordinated, neighborhood-based, trauma-informed social service Hubs in neighborhoods that have suffered disproportionate impacts from the pandemic. "Pinellas Community Foundation is excited to work with the city and the community to advance neighborhood resilience through a focus on mental health," said PCF's CEO Duggan Cooley. Hubs will have direct access to emergency funding to address crisis needs and stabilize the household. Once stabilized, the Hubs will provide trauma-informed therapy, case management, and assertive outreach. PCF will also establish a shared services organization that will provide administrative support to Hubs and other nonprofits across the city.
- PCF launched the application for Lead Nonprofit on March 24th 2023, with final applications due by May 5th 2023. Learn more about the process and apply at www.pinellascf.org/grants/arpa/saint-petersburg/.
- $1.179 million for Food Security. There are three projects being funded.
- The first project is implementation of a Healthy Neighborhood Store Program in qualified designated census tracts in Healthy Food Priority Areas of the city. In November 2022, after a Request for Proposals process, St. Pete Free Clinic (SPFC) was named as a contractor of approximately $535,000 that has been allocated for this program and will provide technical assistance, capital improvements, and incentives to participating stores. SPFC will design, implement, and monitor the program for a two-year period.
- The second project allocates $100,000 to support the Summer Food Program over a two-year period. These dollars will be used to increase capacity within the USDA Summer Food Service Program and increase the quality and quantity of food delivered to youth at recreation centers. This project provided support for the 2022 summer program and will support the 2023 summer program.
- The third project allocates $544,000 to develop and implement a Healthy Food Action Plan. The City seeks to chart a strategic vision and path forward for a sustained, inclusive, and equitable food system in the City by increasing healthy food access, strengthening food security, and improving the food environment.” Funds will be used for community engagement in the planning process and will support a grant-funded Planner II position that will lead the project. The final implementation phase of the plan will include funding for community food grants to address priorities outlined in the Healthy Food Action Plan. This project is anticipated to begin in the third quarter of 2023.
- $946,435 for Youth Development. There are two projects being funded with these dollars.
- The first project allocates $246,435 to the City’s existing Youth Development Grants Program, which provides grants to local nonprofits to provide literacy and other programming to address achievement gaps. These additional dollars will focus on literacy with the next grant cycle expected to launch in the fall of 2023.
- The second project allocates $700,000 for a Youth Opportunity Grants program focusing on youth aging out of foster care who do not continue to engage with the child welfare system. This project is currently being designed with an expected launch in the summer of 2023.
- $405,000 for Impact Monitoring. This funding is for a City position through 2026 to establish metrics and measure community impacts and systemic changes intended by these funding uses. This position will work with the sub recipient and grantees to track progress toward closing equity gaps and ensure these various projects and initiatives meet Mayor Welch’s vision. This position was filled in December 2022.