Board adopts recovery package investment plan

For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 16, 2021

Sponsored by: Support Services Department, Finance Division

Board of County Commissioners approve the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Act tranche one investment areas.

 

On Tuesday, September 7, 2021 Washington County Board of Commissioners formally approved the tranche one investment areas within Washington County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) framework. Investment areas include protecting public health and community wellness, continued operations, economic recovery and community engagement.

Washington County is carefully balancing continued response and thoughtful recovery with an equitable lens. Many programs will be created with these funds to assist the community in the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summary of ARPA tranche one investment areas:

  1. Protecting Public Health
  • Surviving COVID-19: Isolation and quarantine support, vaccination, testing and related community education.
  • Meeting basic needs: Basic supplies (food, diapers, etc.) and wraparound services for households in quarantine.
  1. Community Stabilization and Holistic Wellness
  • Childcare Support: Assessment of current childcare service capacity for future strategic recovery planning and grant programs.
  • Behavioral Health: Additional support for mental health services, suicide prevention and postvention programs.
  • Family Health: Accessible and equitable community health nurse programs across languages including prenatal and childhood support.
  • Shelter and Safety: Services at encampments, including outreach and sanitation and hygiene services.
  • Utility Bill Assistance: Ratepayer assistance program wherein past due water/sewer/stormwater accounts are forgiven.
  1. Stabilize and support the local economy
  • Small Business Recovery: Business Recovery Center support plus small business and entrepreneur support including technical assistance and access to capital.
  • Workforce Development: Job training, reskilling programs, wraparound services for low-income workers.
  • Broadband: Support a countywide broadband investment plan and other future investment planning.
  1. Community Engagement
  • Diversify Accessible Communications: Including social media and video streaming content with culturally specific strategies.
  • Building Community Capacity Through Collaboration: Building community partner capacity in cross-jurisdictional engagement. Leading community engagement strategies, including coaching, outreach materials, participant stipends and related support.
  • Advancing Data Equity: System analysis of tools and strategies used across departments and preparing for a potential comprehensive approach to data equity.
  1. Continued Operations
  • Operations: Facilities needs such as equipment, cleaning services and PPE. Technology support for COVID-19 public health services and teleworking needs. Timely communications in relation to public information in pandemic response. Coordination activities to plan, develop, implement and report on COVID-19 service programs.
  1. Contingency and Future Tranche One Investments:
  • Remaining tranche one funds for contingency needs or other tranche one investment areas to be determined.

On June 22 and August 10, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners provided guidance and direction on Washington County’s American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund framework including proposed values, principles and investment areas.

Washington County Board Chair Kathryn Harrington says, “As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic health needs and despite ongoing uncertainty to protect our communities, the American Rescue Plan for Washington County is an opportunity to recover from the pandemic better than before.”

“This first allocation of funding will allow Washington County to provide access to opportunities for families and small businesses to thrive,” Chair Harrington added.

The multi-month process for identifying priority areas in the first round of pandemic recovery included board sessions, biweekly ARPA steering committee meetings, staff research, engagement, learning from the county’s experience earlier in the pandemic using CARES Act funding ("Lift Us Up, Keep Us Going" report) and direct feedback and direction from Washington County Board of Commissioners.

What is the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)?

The American Rescue Plan will provide the county with approximately $116 million in coronavirus relief funding through the U.S. Department of the Treasury from now until the end of 2024. The State of Oregon, some cities and other levels of government will receive American Rescue Plan funding as well.

Learn more about Washington County’s use of the American Rescue Plan to stabilize communities and the values and principles that guide the decision-making for pandemic response and recovery at the next Board of Commissioners Town Hall on Saturday, September 18 at 10 a.m. Participants can register here. Stay up to date by bookmarking www.co.washington.or.us/recovery.

Media Contact:

Silvia Pereida, Public Affairs and Communications Coordinator
503-307-0932
silvia_pereida@co.washington.or.us