American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), also known as ARPA, into law. The $1.9 trillion package is intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts. The American Rescue Plan Act allocates hundreds of billions of dollars for public health and vaccines, assistance for vulnerable populations, education and housing stabilization, economic recovery assistance and direct assistance for families and individuals.

Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

$360 Billion, or about 19%, of all ARPA funds are dedicated to the Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CSLFRF). These funds are dedicated to nearly every State, Tribal Nation, County, City, Town, and Village across the country. Of course, this includes the City of Somerville. These funds are distributed in two ways: some funds are given directly to cities, and the rest are given to counties who allocate the funds within their jurisdiction.



The funds given directly to the City



The funds given to our county which were then passed on to us



All of the funds we can spend

Flexible Use and Extended Time Horizon

While the CARES Act and CRF were intended to respond to the direct and immediate impacts of the public health emergency, the American Relief Plan Act and CSLFRF are aimed at continuing that response and providing relief to the economic impacts of the public health response. As a result, the CSLFRF funds may be used in the following ways (as identified in the bill's text.)

  1. To respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;
  2. To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID–19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work;
  3. For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county prior to the emergency; or
  4. To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

In addition to the allowable uses outlined above, state and local governments can transfer the funds to a private nonprofit organization, a public benefit corporation involved in the transportation of passengers or cargo, or a special-purpose unit of state or local government.

And importantly -- all of the resources available under the ARPA and CSLFRF are available until December 31, 2024.

Community Engagement

The purpose of engagement for this project is to:

  • Develop a base of collective knowledge and learning about how ARPA funding can be used in Somerville;
  • Engage key stakeholders in conversations around ARPA funding;
    • Additional focus on reaching renters, low-income residents, and non-English speaking residents
  • Explore the different priorities for how the funding should be used;
  • Share with City staff what we heard were resident priorities;

Engagement activities will focus on:

  • Providing clear and accessible information about the ARPA funding that Somerville will receive, including what the money can and can’t be used for and what the City’s existing plans for spending it are;
  • Creating opportunities for Somerville residents to work with the City to prioritize what to spend the remaining/available ARPA funding on.  

Join us for the first virtual forum exploring how Somerville can use this once-in-a-generation investment! The first Community Forum will occur on October 27th from 7 to 830PM. Visit at the start time of the meeting for links or the call-in number. Or, call 311 (617-666- 3311) for the meeting call-in number.

Take the Budget Challenge!

Below, you'll find the categories within which we can spend our ARPA funds. If you click on each category, you'll find further subcategories below. Tell us what you value in the COVID recovery process by making your own ARPA budget! We'll use your responses to inform how we allocate funds.

Current City ARPA Requests

Current City ARPA Approvals

Public Portal for Project Requests

Coming Soon

Additional Resources