SEAP Launches Survey to Help Local Leaders Prioritize ARP Funding Based on Community Input

The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) launched the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Community Needs survey to gather feedback from residents across the 12 Southern states. The survey aims to identify challenges Southerners are experiencing as a result of the pandemic. SEAP’s goal is to bring in voices and ideas from local communities, especially those typically neglected.

Through the survey, SEAP’s data team intends to provide information to state and county leaders about pandemic hardships that residents experienced personally and as a community, including:

  • Access to sufficient and affordable childcare
  • K-12 education opportunities
  • Higher education opportunities
  • Employment opportunities
  • Personal debt (student/credit/home/other)
  • Loans to support/start a small business
  • Ability to pay utilities
  • Access to and/or ability to maintain housing
  • Access to transportation
  • Access to reliable internet
  • Behavioral health and/or mental health
  • Access to healthcare

Additionally, the survey seeks to provide more insight into where residents want local leaders to prioritize ARP spending in their communities. SEAP’s ARP Assistance Team will leverage survey findings as part of their efforts to tailor resources and outreach as they assist local leaders in spending plans.

Local activists and organizers can also use the data to bring the community’s voice to the table. The survey asks participants if local leaders conducted any citizen outreach surrounding ARP spending plans. As a part of its guidance, the U.S. Treasury requires city leaders to incorporate community engagement in their ARP spending plans.

Along with online availability, SEAP is sharing the survey through the Provider’s app, targeting food-insecure households, with pilots in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and New Orleans. SEAP has also partnered with Fair Count to spread the survey through text banking to reach underserved communities.

The 5-minute anonymous survey does not collect personal information. The SEAP anticipates the first round of survey results to be published in early December. To connect with SEAP’s Data Director, please email mfilippelli@rooseveltinstitute.org.

For more information, community members, city leaders, and activist organizations can contact SEAP’s ARP Assistance Team at southstrong@rooseveltinstitute.org. To check out the complete toolkit, please visit www.southstrong.org.

About the Southern Economic Advancement Project
The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) is your partner and resource. SEAP amplifies existing organizations and networks’ efforts to broaden economic power and build a more equitable future. Broadening economic power brings attention to how race, class, and gender intersect social and economic policy in the South. SEAP explores policy ideas designed to address these connections directly. SEAP focuses on 12 Southern states and marginalized/vulnerable populations within the region.

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