How did San Jose spend its US bailout funds?

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San Jose is set to spend the balance of its multimillion-dollar allocation of federal funds from the U.S. bailout, donating the final round of dollars to a variety of programs this summer.

The remaining $78 million of the city’s total $212 million allocation under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be distributed in the upcoming 2022-23 fiscal year. Residents will get an idea of ​​what that allocation looks like when the city’s first draft budget is released this week.

The $134 million spent last year has already been split between residential assistance, small business support, homeless services and children’s education programs. These funds represented approximately 60% of the allocation, or $80 million. Another $45 million reimbursed general fund costs, according to budget director Jim Shannon. The remaining $9 million was split between emergency housing, energy retrofits and other programs.

Funding breaks down as follows:

Help for residents

More than $39 million has been spent on residential assistance programs focused on housing stabilization, food, re-employment and workforce development. These programs included rent relief, eviction prevention help centers, and support for Homekey Project locations.

The largest allocation, $17.5 million, was spent on food services, including grocery distribution in hard-hit neighborhoods, dry food programs, and activation of food and food distribution centers. essential items such as hygiene products.

Support for small businesses

The Small Business Assistance Programs, which operated almost entirely out of the city’s Office of Economic Development, allocated $16.6 million in ARPA funds in the form of small business grants, outdoor dining and additional legal assistance for tenants, among other programs.

About $2.7 million went to small business grants, said Nanci Klein, director of economic development. Of that number, 92% served the hardest-hit census tracts, primarily in east San Jose.

“The dollars San Jose has channeled to the small business community have been critical and a key metric is how we’ve identified and allocated dollars to (disenfranchised communities),” Klein told San Jose Spotlight. “We’re preparing to disperse our next round for people who didn’t get it last time.”

One of the programs not run by the economic development office was San Jose Abeirto, which received $4.2 million to fund the arts community and public space activation.

Services for homeless camps

San Jose spent $12.2 million on homeless services, including $700,000 for public restrooms and $450,000 for vehicle reduction programs and patrols.

BeautifySJ, a city-run program that cleans up the blight and employs homeless people for garbage collection, received $11 million to expand its team and services, plus an additional $100,000 to provide community grants.

Daniel Lazo, spokesman for the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, said 84 grants have been awarded to help individuals, nonprofits and businesses clean up the scourge.

“With these funds, the BeautifySJ program has developed a systematic approach to providing regular trash can service, more frequent engagement with homeless residents, and a more hygienic environment for all San Jose residents,” Lazo said in San Jose. José Spotlight, adding that the department is asking for a similar amount. funding to continue services.

Children’s programs and education

Approximately $6.2 million was dedicated to programs focused on digital equity, learning modules for child care, and funds to support new child care providers. The majority of the funds went to bridging the digital divide highlighted during the pandemic as students transitioned to remote learning. San Jose spent $2.1 million to provide hotspots, tablets and other technology and $750,000 to expand community Wi-Fi in libraries and other public spaces.

Council member Sylvia Arenas said she wants more childcare programs funded in the first round. However, an additional $20 million in ARPA dollars for child care is expected in the next budget cycle.

“It’s real progress,” Arenas told San Jose Spotlight. “But we haven’t done enough. We see it with the number of families leaving San Jose and the number of school closures. »

And after?

Shannon, the city’s budget manager, said that with most of San Jose’s ARPA funds allocated, it will be difficult to continue providing the same levels of service and programming.

“Some won’t be able to continue, some will be done at lower levels of service, and some we’ll try to maintain at the same level,” Shannon told San Jose Spotlight.

He said the priorities will be similar to the previous year, but align with the mayor’s budget priorities approved by council in March – homelessness and affordable housing, public safety and the fight against the scourge.

“The way we distributed the money was consistent with the needs of our residents and our city at the time,” council member Pam Foley told San Jose Spotlight, adding that she hopes to see the funds from the ‘ARPA prioritize preventing homelessness, encouraging economic development and ensuring San Jose becomes a cleaner, safer city.

City Council will discuss ARPA funds and budget priorities at its May 11 meeting. Learn to watch and participate.

Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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