American Rescue Plan

1. What is the American Rescue Plan (ARP)?

Images of Hartford initiatives representing the American Rescue Plan Projects

The American Rescue Plan (ARP)Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021 to deliver direct relief to the American people, rescue the American economy, and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting effects.

The bill included $1.9 trillion overall, with $110 billion going directly to local and county governments. The City of Hartford will receive approximately $112 million, and Hartford Public Schools will receive a further $98 million, all of which is meant to be committed by the end of 2024.

Mayor Bronin and the City Council developed and passed a spending plan for this funding through the annual budget process throughout the Spring and early Summer of 2021, utilizing a community survey to help shape priorities and deliver programs to address residents’ concerns. In November of 2022, this spending plan was amended to allocate $2,150,000 in ARP funding allotted for economic development to new homeownership preservation and promotion initiatives (see details below).

Given that there are strict restrictions on how ARP funds may be used, in many cases the dollars the City receives through the ARP will be spent on eligible expenses that are not listed in Hartford’s ARP plan.  That will free up other sources of funding that the City will use to fully fund the ARP plan described below.

2. How is Hartford planning to use funding from the ARP?

Mayor Bronin and the City Council adopted a plan to spend the $112 million in ARP funds allocated to the City of Hartford, plus a supplemental $4.7 million in City capital funds, as part of the FY 2022 annual budget process. This plan was amended in November of 2022 to provide support for new homeownership preservation and promotion initiatives. The overall goal of the ARP plan is to help our community recover from the profound emotional pain, economic hardship, and social isolation wrought by the pandemic, while at the same time building a foundation for a stronger, healthier, more vibrant and more resilient city in the years ahead. The City also aims to strike a balance between meeting the urgent needs of the moment and making investments that will last beyond the next few years.  

Here are the adopted categories of spending that the City is in the process of finalizing:  

  • Youth Services & Support: $13.9 million 
  • $7.5 million in grants to youth service providers to support summer and year-round youth programming. 
  • $3 million to expand youth employment programs and job training programs such as the partnership between the City, Girls for Technology, and GalaxE.Solutions.
  • $1.5 million to grow Hartford’s Youth Service Corps by 100 participants per year, allowing the YSC to serve 350 young people annually.
  • $900,000 to increase afterschool youth sports programming in partnership with Active City Youth Sports Collaborative.
  • $1,000,000 to support community arts education.
  • All the funding described above is in addition to the separate ARP allocation of $98 million provided directly to Hartford Public Schools.
  • Community Safety & Wellness: $11.25 million 
  • $4.5 million to support violence reduction efforts for both youth and adults, including funding to establish a Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program.
  • $3.75 million to expand mental health & wellness programming.
  • $1.2 million to hire additional City staff to coordinate internal and external violence prevention/intervention efforts for youth and adults.
  • $900,000 to expand Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center to a new location on Windsor Street.
  • $900,000 to develop a public health awareness campaign.
  • Business Support & Activation: $15.3 million 
    • $7 million to support neighborhood job creation and small business investment across Hartford. (Includes $3 million for the $6 million Hart Lift program, see additional funding below.)
    • $3 million to provide direct grant funding to small businesses through a revolving loan fund with HEDCO.
    • $2 million to support façade improvements at Hartford businesses.
    • $1.8 million to fund a new beautification program in our neighborhood commercial corridors.
    • $1.5 million to create citywide marketing campaign.   
  • Housing Non-profit Support: $7 million
    •  $4.1 million in grants to Habitat for Humanity, NINA, SINA and the Hartford Land Bank to help those organizations renovate old, blighted buildings or build on vacant lots.
    • $2.3 million to replace the deteriorating MLK Apartments (plus $1.8 million in other funds).
    • $600,000 to capitalize a Revolving Fund for Emergency Housing Repairs (New as of November 2022)
  • Arts & Culture: $5.85 million 
    • $1.5 million to enhance Summer in the City events.
    • $1.3 million to create a weekly summer concert series.
    • $750,000 to create an all-season events program $900,000 to support citywide live artist performances.
    • $750,000 for public art projects and local artist recovery program.
    • $600,000 to support art and music in city businesses or vacant spaces.
  • Economic & Community Development: $47.3 million 
    • $10.5 million for construction at the Hartford Public Library Barbour Street and Albany Avenue branch locations.
    • $4 million to expand the Parkville Market.
    • $5 million to build a new City Health Department as part of a broader retail development at the corner of Albany Avenue and Woodland Street.
    • $5.2 million to support revitalization of blighted industrial buildings and vacant lots at the heart of the Parkville Arts & Innovation District.
    • $5 million for revitalization of Barbour Street
    • $6 million to stabilize and develop downtown properties. (Includes $3 million for the $6 million Hart Lift program, see additional funding above.)
    • $4 million for additional neighborhood economic development
    • $2.15 million to support homeownership preservation and promotion (New as of November 2022)
    • $1.5 million to support redevelopment at 17-35 Bartholomew Avenue
    • $1.5 million to support Hartford’s startup innovation ecosystem.
    • $1.35 million to promote tourism in Hartford.
    • $1.1 million to provide emergency stabilization support to the hospitality sector.
  • Critical Infrastructure: $9.5 million 
    • $9.5 million to improve Hartford’s flood control system.
  • Revenue Replacement: $6.6 million 
    • $1 million to hire additional Housing Inspectors to accelerate the implementation of Hartford’s residential licensing program.
    • $2.5 million for additional engineering, project and construction management capacity at the Department of Public Works.
    • $3 million to support capital projects, including streetscape work. 

3. Where is Hartford in the process of spending ARP funding?

Before spending ARP dollars, the City had to develop internal processes consistent with federal regulations to ensure monies are spent consistent with procurement standards. All ARP funds are being expended with careful attention to federal reporting requirements and compliance with guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department. 

To simplify and streamline the process of reporting on the expenditure of federal ARP funds, the city will in some cases use non-federal dollars to implement the ARP spending plan detailed above, while utilizing the federal funds to support operating or capital expenditures in an equivalent amount.  As a result, the reports that the city submits will not necessarily mirror the spending plan detailed above.  It is important to note, however, that even though federal dollars will not be used to implement each part of the city’s ARP spending plan, the allocation of ARP funds made the implementation of that full recovery plan possible.  

As of February 28, 2023, a grand total of $76 million of the City’s total ARP allocation of $112 million has been awarded to end recipients, meaning that contracts or purchase orders have been issued. All funds must be committed in this manner before the end of calendar year 2024.

Highlights from ARP projects already implemented are described below:

Hartford Unity Grants – Support for Youth Programming 

Young people have experienced a great deal of disruption, isolation, and uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To help address this, ARP funds are being invested to give our kids the chance to reconnect with peers and mentors, get the support of caring, dedicated providers, and just have some fun – whether it’s through sports, music, dance, or anything else.   

In 2021, $1.5 million in Hartford Unity Grants were distributed to 68 different youth-serving providers, serving more than 11,000 kids. Click here to see a full list of grant recipients. 

In 2022, a second round of Hartford Unity Grants was released, providing a further $1.9 million in funding to 63 youth-service organizations. Click here to see the full list of second round grantees.

A third round has been announced for 2023, with recipients to be announced in the coming weeks.

Free Youth Sports – Active City Youth Sports Collaborative  

The City of Hartford has committed almost $1 million to launch the largest free out-of-school sports program in recent memory, in partnership with Active City’s Youth Sports Collaborative.  Through this program, 1,000 young people ages 5-14 have the opportunity to participate in free sports – whether in our parks when the weather is nice, or in our school facilities after school and on weekends during the winter.  

Read the story on FOX61. 

Connecting Young People to Tech Jobs 

Working with our partners at Girls for Technology and GalaxE.Solutions, the city has funded a partnership to train Hartford residents for guaranteed jobs in IT. To help support this collaboration, the City of Hartford has provided a grant of up to $600,000 using American Rescue Plan funds, and has set aside $2.4 million in additional funding to support similar programs 

Read and watch the story on WFSB. 

Activating Vacant Retail Spaces 

To help Hartford’s small businesses to recover from the pandemic, the City launched the Hart Lift program in partnership with the Hartford Chamber of Commerce.  This $6 million initiative funds build-out costs for new businesses opening in vacant spaces.  Property owners with vacant storefronts are eligible for grants of $50 per square foot, up to a maximum of $150,000. Grants can be used for interior and exterior buildout costs for new businesses opening in new or existing ground floor retail spaces. The grants must be matched 100% by landlord/tenant investments in the downtown and 50% along neighborhood commercial corridors.  As of January 2023, the Hart Lift program has provided approximately $6.26 million in assistance to 60 businesses in neighborhoods across the city, 68% of which are minority or women owned. The program has filled 218,000 square feet of vacant space, and supported an estimated 740 jobs.

Read the Hartford Courant article.

Closing the Connectivity Gap 

The City has dedicated $750,000 to bring high-speed fiber to businesses along North Main Street and Windsor Street – closing the connectivity gap so those businesses can grow. 

Read the Hartford Courant article.

Bringing Back Concerts and Events

Moving forward from the pandemic, the City dedicated funding for concerts, festivals, and other events to promote arts and culture. The City committed $1.3 million to a partnership with GoodWorks Entertainment that created the weekly Hartford Live concert series downtown at the Old Statehouse during the summer. The program began in 2022 and will continue for 2023, 2024 and beyond. The City also allocated $1.5 million to the Summer in the City series, which includes a lineup of diverse events such as the historic Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz.

Read the CT Insider article.

Read and watch the story on WFSB.

Re-entry Welcome Center

The City of Hartford committed $900,000 of America Rescue Plan funding to expand the Hartford Reentry Welcome Center as it moved from its old location at City Hall to a larger headquarters at 716 Windsor Street. The Reentry Welcome Center was also able to expand its list of services and partners offered to formerly incarcerated individuals in the Hartford area.

Read and watch the story on WFSB.

Community Safety

Recognizing the increase in violence across the country since the pandemic, the City of Hartford has dedicated funding towards addressing root causes of violence. The City committed $4.5 million of its America Rescue Plan dollars towards violence reduction efforts, including a Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program. Partnering with Connecticut Children’s Medical Hospital, Trinity Health of New England, and Hartford Hospital, as well as community-based organizations, the HVIP program will deploy intervention specialists to help gunshot victims while they recover in the hospital and then continue to follow up with them in the future.

Read the Hartford Courant article.

4. What is the process for community organizations to get ARP funding? 

Stakeholders in our community, including small businesses, non-profits serving young people, artists, non-profit housing developers, and landlords will all likely have opportunities to apply to access this funding in order to improve our community. The City of Hartford in some cases will select specific entities to advance particular goals, and in others will issue broader Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that are open to the public.  

Further announcements about specific allocations and opportunities for funding will be made as they become available.