Committee Nearing Decision on Use of Federal Relief Funds

The city’s ARPA Community Advisory Committee should have recommendations on how Chelsea can best spend $15 million in federal relief funds by the end of the winter.

“The ARPA Committee, following the holidays, will be resuming its meetings and will help determine how best to spend about $15 million in funds provided to the city by the federal government in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 after getting information from the community over the past few months and over the next two months,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. “The committee is expected to make recommendations to the city about the best way to spend the money, probably some time toward the end of February or early March.”

The 20-member committee is tasked with making recommendations for spending approximately $15 million of the $40 in ARPA funds and began meeting last September.

The specific organizations that get the money will be determined by the city administration through an RFP (requests for proposal) process, according to Ambrosino.

The remainder of the $40 million in expected ARPA funds, about $25 million, are set aside for expected Covid-related lost revenue in the city and will be earmarked for capital improvement projects.

Some areas the committee is focusing on for the use of the $15 million include housing, food security, workforce development, childcare and early education, small business opportunities, environmental health, and behavioral and mental health issues.

In addition to the ARPA funding, Ambrosino said there is immediate financial help still available through the city for homeowners.

“The city still has some funding available that was provided by the City Council to help homeowners who are struggling financially due to impacts from Covid,” said Ambrosino. “Any owner-occupant who is struggling to pay their bills due to Covid, whether that’s a tax bill, mortgage, utility bills, or other debts, the city’s Homeowners Assistance Program is still open for applications. There is still significant funding available for homeowners suffering financially from Covid.”

Those applications are available at City Hall or on the city’s website. Owner-occupants of condominiums and one- to four-family homes are eligible for grants of between $5,000 and $10,000, Ambrosino stated. Anyone can apply as long as their income does not exceed 100 percent of the Area Median Income.

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