RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Housing, environmental challenges, children and families are at the top of the City of Richmond’s list for American Rescue Plan Act funding. The City Council voted to pass a budget amendment on Monday that outlines what the city will do with half of the rescue plan money from the federal government.
In total, the City of Richmond was allocated $155 million. They worked half of that into the city budget and voted to pass the amended budget unanimously.
Leading up to Monday’s vote, the city gathered information from citizens to determine what their spending priorities were.
“This funding is an opportunity for transformational change,” said Lincoln Saunders, Chief Administrative Officer. “The budget amendment delivers on that promise, with investments in the people, programs and places that will help our city recover and continue to thrive.”
Mayor Levar Stoney’s Office laid out what their spending plans are for the full $155 million worth of funding online and in a release on Monday.
The largest spending priority will be children and families. Overall the city will put $78 million towards community centers and $2 million towards childcare.
The objective receiving the second most funding is affordable and healthy housing. Richmond is allocating $32 towards building back homes, this includes $20 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. There will also be multi-million dollar redevelopment projects at Creighton Court and Highland Grove.
“I’m encouraged to see the investment in the family crisis fund for those who need help right now as well as a long term strategy for investment in the affordable housing, community recreation and neighborhood improvements for those who need it most. While our work is far from done, this is what building back better and equitably looks like,” said Councilmember Stephanie Lynch.
The city is also putting a significant amount of the funding towards addressing climate and environmental challenges. There is $19 million allocated to that plan. The money will go towards things like stormwater management, lead line replacement and climate risk assessment.
Public safety projects like gun violence prevention and hazard pay for first responders will get $8.5 million. There has been $5.9 allocated to economic supports.
Another project outlined by the city is $5 million to be used towards a health equity fund. The fund will be used to help with the COVID-19 response, health care for expecting mothers and new babies, food access and mental health care. The Richmond City Health District will manage the fund.
“I am proud to support of this path to recovery from the pandemic and its resultant economic effects,” said Council Vice President Ellen Robertson. “The plan’s investments in quality affordable housing, public health and Richmond’s children and families are much-needed infusions into the city’s utmost priorities.”