In Advance of ARPA Anniversary, Results from More than 100 Mayors Show Powerful Impact of City Relief Program

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) released a new survey of mayors that shows how critical relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are being put to use in American cities. An important part of ARPA was direct fiscal assistance for state and local governments. With the pandemic triggering painful budget shortfalls at a time of enormous need, cities were provided a total of $65.1 billion to assist in relief and recovery efforts. Since the law’s enactment one year ago, America’s mayors have developed responsible budget plans and worked with local officials to maximize the impact of these funds. Now, as we near the first anniversary of ARPA’s enactment, the survey released today offers a snapshot of how many cities are spending these dollars to address the short- and long-term negative impacts of COVID.

With responses from more than 100 cities, with big, medium, and small populations, the survey released today provides a sample of data on the types of programs that cities have used ARPA funds for, as well as offers dozens of specific examples of programs supported by these resources.

According to the survey respondents:

  • 73% of cities reported using funds for housing assistance, with many citing funds to address homelessness worsened by the pandemic;
  • 71% reported using funds to support small businesses;
  • 66% identified assistance to first responders;
  • 65% cited using funds for workforce development;
  • 63% made investments in public health, including mental and behavioral health; and
  • 58% reported using funds to support youth programs.

“While mayors were leading their cities through this pandemic, the costs became staggering, and the American Rescue Plan has made the difference between bankruptcy and building back better,” said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “This money is making a difference in people’s lives and helping cities lead us out of this pandemic. This survey demonstrates how mayors have been both responsible stewards of these resources and visionary leaders in their communities. Still, there is much work to do as the negative effects of the pandemic are long lasting and continue to unfold. We would not have bounced back the way we have without this program, and mayors are grateful to President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and many members of Congress for understanding the situation facing American cities.”

The full report on the survey, including illustrative examples of programs that cities are supporting with ARPA funds can be found here.