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More rescue plan money to make its way through Michigan communities in 2023

Grand Rapids City Hall and La Grande Vitesse.
Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Kent County awarded nearly all of its ARPA funding in December, with much of the money to be spent in the next year.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in rescue act funding from the federal government will be making its way through Michigan communities in 2023.

Michigan cities and counties received a totalof more than $4 billion dollars in local funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Local governments have until 2024 to allocate all of the money. But much of the allocations in Michigan communities ramped up in 2022.

In December, Kent County allocated $108 million of the $127 million it received through ARPA. The money will go toward 30 projects approved by the Kent County Commission. Some of the funds have already started having an impact on local organizations.

The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute said it had already received $1 million from the county’s ARPA allocation, and plans to spend the money increasing work on mental health and infant and maternal health programs for BIPOC residents in the area.

“This grant is both an investment in our community’s future health and a validation of the past work by GRAAHI over the past 20 years,” said Paul Doyle, GRAAHI Board Chair, in a statement announcing the grant.

Wayne County allocated nearly $100 million in ARPA funds in November, toward 14 projects. That represented the largest allocation to date for the county, though the majority of its funds remain unspent.

Detroit, which received the largest amount of ARPA funding of any local government in Michigan, has already approved more than $700 million in spending projects, though only about $52 million of the spending had rolled out by late December, according to the city’s ARPA spending dashboard.

Dozens of other communities received smaller amounts of funding through the program, and that money too continues to make its way through programs meant to serve residents.

In Midland County, a new round of grants for more than $600,000 in ARPA funds were announced in December.

The county awarded the funds to the Midland Area Community Foundation to give to local nonprofits.

Sharon Mortensen, head of the foundation, gave an update on the awards at a county commission meeting in December.

She said the money went toward housing and food services, and toward three mental health programs.

“We know that COVID has exacerbated mental health needs of individuals in our community because of the stress generated in a variety of ways, and in some cases economic stress,” Mortensen said.

Local governments have until the end of 2024 to allocate all of the funds awarded to them through ARPA, and until the end of 2026 to spend the money allocated.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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