Detroit’s Battle Over American Rescue Plan Funds

Detroit is set to receive a total of 826 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan, the fifth-largest amount of any city in America. The 1.9 trillion federal stimulus bill was signed into law in March 2021 to help alleviate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

On June 7th, the Detroit city council gathered to ask community members how they feel the money should be spent.

“I wanted to lift up fighting intergenerational poverty as well as neighborhood investments as well as parks and small businesses. If we can leverage neighborhood investment to include early childhood support, that’s best. If you don’t have children, you don’t have a community. It’s imperative that we start putting more emphasis on early childhood development so that our children can move the city forward, said Tamara Grice.

The payments will be broken up into two payments of 413 million distributed this June 2021, with the second equal disbursement in May 2022.

While some community members think the money should be spent on public safety and more policing, others vehemently disagree.

“Public safety is not a priority, there’s no more money needed to fund a police state. Children are put into the school-to-prison pipeline. All of those things have (torn) our city apart. We don’t need any more money invested into prison systems, that has been said several times. So, I’m really hoping that that is not a priority for this money, said Vince of District 7.

Some community members believed the money should be spent to secure pensions, but Federal regulations specify that the money cannot be used for pension payments, debt, or any pre-COVID non-qualifying entities.

Another community member would like to see some of the money go toward neighborhoods that don’t include Downtown Detroit. “I would like to see more investment in the neighborhood investment bucket, I live on Herbert Street between 94 and Warren Avenue. The area has been neglected for several years. More money needs to be invested into the neighborhoods to bring the city back because they continue to neglect neighborhoods such as this.”

Three hundred to 600 million dollars of Detroit’s American Rescue Plan money will be divided into four areas. 124 million will go to affordable housing and eviction protection, 95 million to health initiatives, 100 to 200 million is allocated for water and waterline replacements with the remaining 60 to 180 million allocated for transportation.

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