The City of Worcester was awarded approximately $146 million from the US Department of Treasury and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts related to American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The links below will connect you to further information on Federal allowances and the City's initial goals and objectives related to funding. While Federal guidance on the use of funding continues to evolve, the City hosted a series of summer and fall 2021 community needs input sessions to help inform potential uses of the ARPA funds in different neighborhoods throughout the City, in addition to an online survey covering the same questions discussed at the in-person input sessions. Read the Results. As such, approximately $50 million has been reserved for affordable housing solutions and local community-based programs/projects addressing Public Health Emergency and Negative Economic Impacts.
If you have any questions on ARPA programs. Please call 508-799-1404, or email ARPA@worcesterma.gov
Consistent with the ARPA budget submitted to the City Council, the City of Worcester has released a number of Requests for Proposals/Program Applications in the outlined categories of funding.
Cultural Organization Grants - this program provides grants to arts/cultural non-profit organizations that were negatively harmed by the pandemic. Grant amounts will be determined based on the number of eligible applications received. Total funding is $2.95 million.
Affordable Housing Preservation Program - this program will provide grants to owners who control "naturally occurring" affordable units to preserve the affordable rent levels into the future.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund - this program supports the development of affordable rental and first-time homeownership housing through either new construction or substantial rehabilitation. The grant will provide up to 25% of the total development cost, or up to $150,000 per affordable housing unit developed, whichever is less. In addition, bonus funding up to $25,000 per eligible unit for units restricted to 30% or less of area median income and/or ADA units over the minimum required 10% threshold may be awarded.
1st Time Homeownership Development - this grant will allow eligible developers to build 1st time homeownership opportunities in the 16 census tracts with less than a 30% homeownership rate. Grant amounts up to $100,000 are available to eligible 1-4 unit homeownership projects.
Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation - this program will provide grants to owner-occupied properties to assist in addressing building or sanitary code violations. Grant amounts are up to $30,000 per eligible unit.
Lead Abatement - this program will provide grants to property owners to abate lead paint hazards in residential properties built prior to 1978. Grant amounts are up to $15,000 per eligible unit.
The City has established ad-hoc committees to review various priorities and grant applications within core areas - affordable housing, social services, mental health, business assistance and arts & culture.
Committee assignments are as follows:
The mission of these committees is to provide insight in the prioritization of grant applications to help ensure that grant awards are representative of the community and meet the overall goals and priorities set by the City and Federal Government, including but not limited to those most disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially low-income communities and communities of color.
To advance its mission the committees will:
Term of Office:
Members shall serve a term dictated by granting cycles within each funding category but shall expire no later than December 31, 2024.
Committees will meet regularly and as-needed to support the distribution of ARPA funds in their respective category.
Through the collaborative efforts of the Budget Office and Department of Innovation & Technology, a dashboard is now available representing the entire $146M allocations, which includes the $50M in community-based initiatives that the ad hoc committees are being mobilized to assist with. This dashboard will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the ARPA budget and cumulative expenditures that have been incurred against the City's ARPA awards (both federal and state pass-through).