On March 11, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. ARPA is an ambitious initiative to stimulate the American economy, support residents, and curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Cook County will directly receive over $1 billion from the federal government through ARPA and is in the process of developing a responsible, comprehensive, and equitable spending plan to strategically use these one-time resources to support both immediate recovery needs and long-term transformative initiatives.
The distribution of these crucial funds will build on the equity best practices Cook County introduced with the distribution of CARES Act funds last year.
Investments in public infrastructure, economic and community development, workforce development and training, small business assistance, housing stability initiatives, public safety, and social service supports are particularly well-suited uses of ARPA funds because of their expansive and recurring benefits. Cook County can cover the upfront costs of these programs using ARPA funds and will see their long-term, sustainable benefits well after the ARPA funds have been fully used.
We look at ARPA as funds intended for all our residents—not just for Cook County government operations. This means we will use the funds in an equitable manner with the largest benefit to the most people over the longest amount of time.
Your input is critical—and we need to hear from as many people as possible. Please fill out the county’s survey (http://www.engagecookcounty.com/) and share it with your friends and family. At the end of August 2021, Cook County will begin analyzing the data so it can be used to finalize the county’s spending plan.
I invite to you sign up for my newsletter below to learn about the survey results and how Cook County will invest these once-in-a-generation ARPA funds.