• October 15, 2021

LA County Implements an Equity-Based Formula for ARPA Funding

LA County Implements an Equity-Based Formula for ARPA Funding

LA County Implements an Equity-Based Formula for ARPA Funding 724 483 Los Angeles County

President Biden this spring signed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus to support the country’s recovery efforts from the pandemic and provide direct relief to residents across the country.

Los Angeles County will receive an estimated $1.9 billion in ARPA funds as well as other allocations in program-specific areas. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a spending plan for the first tranche of the $1.9 billion in July that makes investments in housing for people experiencing homelessness, direct supports to community-based organizations, and small business supports. Subsequently, the Board unanimously passed a motion called the Recovering Better than Before: Ensuring Equitable Implementation of the American Rescue Plan to ensure that ARPA funds are leveraged to further the County’s anti-racist policy agenda. With their motion, the Board and County have elevated the importance of the equitable distribution of ARPA funds in order to support the communities most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data shows that the pandemic further exacerbated the health, social, and economic challenges experienced by economically vulnerable neighborhoods and communities of color. The pandemic also caused disproportionate economic dislocation among low-income communities and communities of color. Job losses disproportionately affected minorities, women, immigrant communities, younger workers, and workers with lower educational attainment or income.

Black and Latinx workers faced 1.6 to 2.0 times the unemployment rates of their white counterparts, according to an analysis of the U.S. Census Current Population Survey 1, as of November 2020. Households with less than $30,000 in annual income faced double the unemployment rates of higher-income households. Women accounted for nearly 56% of workforce exits since the start of the pandemic, despite comprising only 48% of the workforce.

The disproportionate health and economic impacts of COVID-19 underscored the vulnerability of county residents who are people of color, women, younger workers, and workers overall. There is an imperative opportunity to transform the lives of millions of County residents by centering equity and harm reduction in policy recommendations. Proportional resources can be leveraged to address the needs of our most vulnerable residents and communities.

Example of Guidance and Tools to Advance Racial Equity

On July 13, the County of Los Angeles adopted a proposal to develop racial equity budgeting guidance to be applied by all county agencies and subcontractors to distribute federal American Rescue Plan Funds. The Advancement Project California, a research and public policy advocacy nonprofit housed in Los Angeles, helped draft the racial equity guidance.

Additionally, the County established a public-facing website with dashboard tools to monitor and track expenditures and outcomes from the federal investment at a geographic and programmatic level. Los Angeles County’s approach embodies the brand of racial equity-oriented, inclusive guidance that must flow from the Administration with regard to remaining ARP and any forthcoming federal funds. Also, importantly, the guidance from Los Angeles County is crafted in a manner that is consistent with state and federal constitutional provisions.

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