On October 7, 2021, in efforts to ensure an equitable recovery from the pandemic, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Model Resolution, drafted by the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP).
The resolution commits the city to utilizing its share of ARP funds to promote a community-sustaining recovery across all neighborhoods and sectors. The declaration includes but is not limited to prioritizing the improvement of public health, education and housing. Nellie Catzen, the Executive Director of Committee for a Better New Orleans, introduced the resolution with support from Councilmembers Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Jay Banks.
“New Orleans and New Orleanians were hit hard by COVID — some more than others–, and this resolution is such an important first step for ensuring a fair recovery,” Catzen said. “We’re so grateful for our public officials’ commitment to a just recovery and look forward to the opportunity to work alongside the City of New Orleans to create a process that is inclusive, equitable and transparent.”
Along with model resolution, SEAP’s ARP Assistance Team provides technical assistance to smaller cities and counties seeking resources and guidance on spending ARP funds.
The team’s latest resource, From One City to Another, highlights several Southern cities and their best practices toward community engagement and spending plans. The team cites New Orleans as a good example for creating the Stimulus Command Task Force, which aims to leverage a wide range of federal funds to advance an ambitious program for renewing the city’s infrastructure. Other notable city examples include:
- City leaders in Durham, North Carolina created six internal committees, each assigned to a specific funding area to research. The city also held two listening sessions to gather community feedback.
- Jackson plans to use a significant portion of its recovery funds to address long-standing issues with the city’s drinking and stormwater systems. As part of equitable recovery efforts, city officials propose investing $15.75 million of ARP funds for these infrastructure projects.
For more information, interested city leaders and activist organizations can contact SEAP’s ARP Assistance Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. To check out the complete toolkit, please visit www.southstrong.org.