Spokane City Council Approves Funding For Initial Allocations of ARP Funds

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 8:12 a.m.

In a 7-0 vote, Spokane City Council has adopted a special budget ordinance approving $14 million in appropriations and allocations of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for “first-out” funding to support housing, employment, a COVID-19 safe community, and administrative support. This is the initial allocation of over $81 million that the City has received in ARP funds.

The appropriations are based on a wide variety of proposals and ideas submitted to the Council from the community.  Community members were asked to submit their ideas for emergency funding and through a process with the Council’s ARP working group and members of the Mayor’s administration, ideas were prioritized, and first allocations were moved forward.  The working group will now work with the administration, other Councilmembers, and the public to establish a request for proposal (RFP) process for each item, the community will respond to the respective RFP’s and winners will be awarded based on qualifications.  

“Council was inspired by the quality ideas suggested by community members and is eager to put these dollars to work in Spokane,” said Council President Breean Beggs, who serves on the ARP working group alongside Council Member Wilkerson. 

Councilmember Wilkerson added, “We responded to the needs told to us by our community with housing being the largest concern. The additional appropriations will support other requests such as the arts, childcare, and first-time homebuyers.  Council will continue to inform the community where the first of these funds will be headed.” 

Major items of focus in tonight’s vote include $6 million for affordable housing projects, $2 million for a down payment assistance program for first-time homeowners with incomes below 80 percent of average median income, and $1,120,000 for play equipment and bathroom upgrades in the city parks, prioritizing parks located in the lowest income census tracts.  Other funding buckets include sub-area planning to increase housing along transportation corridors, eviction legal defense and education program, funding to childcare providers, employment support in the arts, construction pre-apprenticeship educational programming targeted towards individuals involved in or at risk of being involved in the criminal justice system, and an Equity Navigator Service to aid the City in ensuring that funds spent will serve our diverse and historically underserved communities.

The City continues to accept ideas for future allocations to be funded from ARP dollars. The idea form can be found under the “Submission” heading at https://my.spokanecity.org/covid19/arpa/.