ST. LOUIS — “Bold, new solutions to fix decades’ old problems,” is how St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones described part of her plan to use $80 million in federal relief funds.
It’s the first batch of money from the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Mayor Jones presented her plan Monday after gathering input from about 2,500 people, including citizens and the mayor’s stimulus advisory board.
She said change is needed with how funding is allocated and that the boost in money will help fix outdated policies and inequities of the past.
“COVID-19 exposed the deep fault lines that divide this city along race, along income, across the ‘Delmar Divide.’ We knew these problems existed before, but COVID-19 highlight how unsustainable the status quo truly is in this city,” Mayor Jones said. “St. Louis cannot and must not return to the same ol’ same ol’. Nobody has time for that.”
Jones said her $80 million plan will reimagine what public safety looks like in the city, explaining that it gets money to families who need it most urgently while making the city safer for everyone.
“No matter where you live, no matter what ZIP code you live in and what identity you hold,” she explained. “Our city’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must be equitable across zip codes and racial lines. From much-needed housing assistance to violence prevention programs, our first allocation of $80 million will help stabilize neighborhoods, improve public safety and build a strong foundation to invest more federal rescue funds down the road."
Above all, the mayor said the biggest priority is getting people vaccinated.
Highlights of the plan, as detailed by Mayor Jones’ office, are:
- $6.75 million for public health infrastructure: Get people vaccinated with mobile vaccine clinics and community canvasses to meet St. Louisans in their neighborhoods and homes
- $58 million for direct, urgent economic relief: This includes housing and utility assistance, support for the unhoused, immediate cash assistance and public benefits navigators to help residents connect with these services
- $11.5 million to improve public safety: Through increased funding for violence intervention programs and youth programming and jobs to keep youth engaged and safe
“Poverty, housing instability, lack of access to mental health services, scarce jobs and opportunities for our youth, disinvestment and the like. These are the real root causes of crime plaguing our city. This plan uses every tool available in our toolbox to address them,” Mayor Jones said.
You can watch Mayor Jones' full news conference in the YouTube video below:
The plan now goes to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, which has until July 1 to approve or reject it.
Overall, Jones said the City of St. Louis is expecting more than $500 million in the coming years from the American Rescue Plan Act. Even with the $80 million potentially allocated, the city still currently has more than $170 million left in the bank to use as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can see the full line-by-line breakdown of Mayor Jone’s $80 million public safety plan in the document below.