The US Department of the Treasury today released a Frequently Asked Questions document that provides clarification on both general eligible uses of Recovery Funds and new eligible uses to increase public safety as outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy to prevent and respond to gun crime and ensure public safety.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Recovery Fund, authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act, is providing $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in America, as well as other crucial investments in local communities.
According to a Treasury press release: The FAQ document provides states and localities with additional guidance on how the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds included in the American Rescue Plan Act can be used to reduce and respond to violent crime – particularly gun violence – by investing in community policing, community violence interruption, and other programs that are proven to reduce crime. The effort is a part of the Biden Administration’s interagency effort to support public safety in communities across the country.
“These resources provide an unprecedented opportunity for states and localities to invest in a strong, equitable recovery from the pandemic and recession,” said Treasury’s Chief Recovery Officer Jacob Leibenluft. “We hope that with this guidance, communities can use these funds to build a holistic, evidence-based approach to combatting violence, especially gun violence, through strategies ranging from subsidized employment and behavioral health programming, to Community Violence Intervention programs and community policing.”
Clarification on general eligible expenses
- Address COVID-related backlog in court cases: Recovery Funds can be used to reduce backlogs, such as implementing COVID-19 safety measures to facilitate court operations, hiring additional court staff or attorneys to increase the speed of case resolution and other expenses to expedite case resolution are eligible uses.
- Clarification on “general revenue” definition: Additional clarification on “general revenue” definition and revenue streams that can be included in the revenue loss calculation (pg. 35 of FAQ).
- Revenue loss and intergovernmental transfers: When calculating general revenue, counties should exclude all intergovernmental transfers from the federal government. This includes federal transfers made via a state to a locality from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. Additionally, If there are other federal funds that were passed through the state or other entities or intermingled with other funds, counties should exclude the federal portion when calculating revenue loss.
- Outdoor spaces: Additional clarification on using Recovery Funds to reinvest in outdoor spaces. Recovery Funds can be used in the following ways:
- Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs): Recovery Funds can be used to support populations disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic When providing services and programs to build stronger neighborhoods and communities, recipients can use funds towards the following: investment in parks, public plazas and other public outdoor recreation spaces that may respond to the needs of disproportionately impacted communities.
- Small businesses: Recipients may provide assistance to small businesses in all communities. This includes enhancing outdoor spaces for COVID-19 mitigation (i.e. restaurant patios) or improve the build environment of the neighborhood (I.e. façade improvements)
- General maintenance of parks: Recognizing that parks were used during the pandemic, Recovery Funds can be used for maintenance needs associated with overuse of parks.
Eligible expenses related to public safety:
- Additional staff and overtime pay: Recovery Funds can be used to hire law enforcement officers (even above pre-pandemic levels) or paying overtime, where the funds are directly focused on advancing community policing strategies in those communities experiencing an increase in gun violence associated with the pandemic. Counties can also use funds to rehire other public servants to restore law enforcement and courts to their pre-pandemic levels.
- Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs: These programs use evidence-based strategies including focused deterrence, street outreach, and hospital-based violence intervention models, complete with wraparound services such as behavioral therapy, trauma recovery, job training, education, housing and relocation services, and financial assistance.
- Subsidized jobs, job training, and wraparound services: This includes Summer Youth Employment Programs and programs to support employment of formerly-incarcerated individuals.
- Mental health services and substance use disorder services: Recovery Funds can be used for community-based mental health and substance use disorder programs that deliver evidence-based psychotherapy, crisis support services, medications for opioid use disorder, and/or recovery support – School-based social-emotional support and other mental health services
- School-based social-emotional support and other mental health services.
- Referrals to trauma recovery services for crime victims.
- Recipients may also use funds up to the level of revenue loss for government services, including those outlined above.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.