ARPA Funds Overview
Click to see a breakdown of how ARPA funds have been used.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) includes $134 million under its State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) for Will County (County). The County received all funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Will County, with the issuance of the Final Rule effective April 1, 2022, used the guidance to accelerate efforts to meet the needs of residents with the most recent available guidance. The County has allocated all funds to help residents recover from the physical and economic devastation of the ongoing pandemic. Through assessments of the community, the County developed strategies to ensure equitable outcomes for target populations, industries, sectors, and specific businesses or agencies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This assessment included obtaining quantitative data, as well as qualitative data through engagement, to articulate goals. This allowed Will County to align the community goals with subrecipients who have been impacted by COVID-19 and can support the betterment of community health and wellbeing.
Will County split their allocation not only amongst “Pillars” but across organizational structures and units of government with the philosophy behind this plan being generally in four parts.
- Providing funding for grants to be allocated on an application basis for projects in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare, and economic development; inclusive of education, job creation, and workforce development.
- Providing direct allocations to County departments and services
- Providing funding for flat-rate small business grants
- Providing flat-rate grants to key transformational County organizations
Unmet Needs: Addressing critical community needs that emerged or intensified due to the pandemic, such as food insecurity, housing assistance, mental health support, and other essential services that did not receive direct SLFRF allocations.
Health: Strengthening healthcare infrastructure and resources to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases and improve overall public health
Economic Development: Providing financial assistance and support to businesses, workers, and industries significantly affected by the pandemic to help them recover and stabilize the local economy.
Infrastructure: Investing in infrastructure projects to enhance community resilience and support future growth and development.
Revenue Replacement: Funding the provision of government services due to Will County experiencing a loss in revenue growth during the pandemic.
Administration: Providing oversite on the implementation of ARPA funded projects and establishing reporting and monitoring provisions
Program Requirements & Minimum Considerations:
- Organization must be physically located in Will County or primarily serving the residents/community
- Be in good standing and registered with the State of Illinois and registered with SAM.gov
- Must be a non-profit, private business partnering with a non-profit, or governmental/public agency. (Small private businesses were eligible for negative economic impact payments)
- Must have been providing service for at least (6) six months at the time of application
- Must be licensed and/or certified to provide service, if applicable
- Sustainable and on-time for reporting
- Aligns with Department of Treasury guidelines eligibility
- Support projects which serve and/or benefit low-income households, residents residing in Qualified Census Tracts (QCT), and unincorporated areas throughout the County
- Expand service, increase access, or establish resiliency efforts
- Sustainability for funding, operations, staffing, and resource management
The program methodology for the Health Pillar allocations of Will County’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds focuses on addressing access and service-related challenges exacerbated by the public health crisis. Most of the funds were dedicated to enhancing access to essential resources and services, particularly aimed at rectifying inequities that have emerged during the crisis. The programs under this pillar prioritized improving access to critical services, such as healthcare, mental health support, and social services, especially in underserved communities. Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted a heightened demand for community-based services, and the allocated funds will be utilized to establish and enhance programs that cater to immediate needs stemming from the pandemic’s impact. This methodology underscores the goal of efficiently allocating resources to ensure equitable access and address both short-term and long-term health-related challenges within Will County.
Primary Areas of Need
Will County identified four primary activities that were prioritized in the evaluation of applicants:
- Food Stabilization: Funds are allocated to programs that enhance food stability in the community. This includes supporting food banks, community kitchens, and programs that ensure vulnerable populations have access to nutritious and sufficient food.
- Behavioral Health: Resources are directed towards improving behavioral health services. This could involve expanding access to mental health clinics, crisis intervention programs, counseling services, and initiatives that promote mental well-being.
- Violence Prevention: Funds are utilized for violence prevention programs that contribute to community safety. This might include supporting community outreach efforts, conflict resolution programs, and initiatives that address the root causes of violence.
- Access & Equity to Healthcare: The methodology emphasizes reducing healthcare disparities and enhancing access to quality healthcare. This could involve setting up community health clinics, increasing telehealth services, and improving healthcare access for underserved populations.
Will County’s Advocacy Center
Will County’s Advocacy Center, as an extension of the State’s Attorney’s Office, requested and was granted funds to both purchase and outfit a new building to operate their services. Over the course of the pandemic. violence and abuse against children has shown to have increased. As a result, the Children’s Advocacy Center saw a rise in cases. The current facility is inadequate for the operations and, with a new facility, can accommodate all staff, private interview rooms, and allow for expansion of services. The existing building has greater capital needs compared to a new building. There is no opportunity for expansion and the facility is outdated and in need of extensive repairs and rehabilitation. It could not accommodate the expansion of services needed to address the impacts of the pandemic. Data suggests that COVID-19 has had a major impact on child abuse and neglect (CAN) in the U.S. leading to a change in the number of reported screened-in CAN investigations, missed prevention cases, and missed CAN cases. The investment in the CAC is in response to the broader health impacts of COVID-19, including community violence interventions and behavioral health.
Will County Health Department
Will County Health Department served as the community hub, sustaining a substantial portion of the response to COVID-19, caring for residents, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 over the last two years. The Health Department has been granted a portion of funds to execute a list of requests for projects, supplies, staffing, and programs to improve effective service delivery, increase capacity, and expand services for a more robust recovery response. The County Board examined these requests, with input from staff and Health Department leadership, approved nearly $8 million.
Will County’s Coroner’s Office
The Coroner’s Office purchased autopsy room equipment to aid the response to COVID-19 and its impacts on long-term public health and disaster preparedness. The Coroner’s Office utilized $1.6 million to purchase and install autopsy room equipment and freezers. The Will County Coroner’s Office is considered eligible for funding given its involvement in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic precipitating updates to its outdated temporary facility. Throughout the pandemic, the Will County Coroner’s Office underwent several changes to assist the County in the unprecedented number of COVID-19-related deaths. The morgue was dilapidated and had been in a temporary location for many years. When COVID-19 hit, the temporary facility’s capacity was exceeded and could not accommodate the nearly 1,700 deaths. As a result, the County had to utilize refrigeration trucks to store and maintain bodies while awaiting examination. The community will benefit from the new facility as the Coroner’s Office continues to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. The new facility will ensure preparedness for a future mass casualty event, public health crisis, or disaster. It may also serve as a space for medical supplies and equipment storage, emergency response and administration, and future surge medical facility capacity. Additionally, the Coroner’s Office is still experiencing an influx of autopsies for drug overdoses/suicide that may be related to mental health issues resulting from COVID-19.
MAPP Initiative – Will County Health Department
Various social service agencies, including the United Way of Will County, embarked on a mission to assess the health needs of their community. They joined forces to conduct a comprehensive community health needs assessment through the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) Collaborative. One of the primary objectives was to combat food insecurity and improve access to nutritious food for all residents, with a special focus on the identified priority needs and populations in the MAPP assessment. Food for All adopted a “Food First Model” approach to tackle food deserts within Will County. The program aimed to establish a local food economy that would support and empower socially vulnerable communities, particularly those disproportionately impacted in the target areas. Entrepreneurial opportunities would be created, allowing residents of these areas to actively participate in and benefit from the program. To achieve these goals, Food for All would collaborate with various organizations and entities, including We WILL Grow, Sharefest, Will County Farm Bureau, local farmers interested in sustainable produce for community use, Illinois Partners in Hope, Health System partners, and Will County Higher Learning Universities. The program planned to funnel fresh produce through these channels, ensuring a steady supply of nutritious food to the communities in need.
The program methodology for the Infrastructure Pillar allocations of Will County’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds is based on several key criteria. First, priority is given to “shovel-ready” projects that are prepared for swift implementation to achieve immediate impact. Secondly, projects that can be entirely funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds or that address critical funding gaps are favored.
Geographic representation across the entire county is a fundamental consideration, ensuring that the allocated funds benefit various communities equitably. Projects chosen for funding are required to contribute to connectivity or fulfill a critical function within public systems. The following types of projects are eligible under this methodology and were prioritized by Will County:
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Projects: Projects that enhance clean water infrastructure, such as wastewater treatment, sewer systems, and water quality improvement initiatives.
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Projects: Projects aimed at improving drinking water infrastructure, including upgrades to water treatment plants, distribution systems, and water quality monitoring.
- Broadband Infrastructure: Initiatives focused on expanding high-speed internet access to underserved or unserved areas, promoting digital connectivity and accessibility.
- Stormwater Infrastructure Projects: These include culvert repair, resizing, and removal, as well as the replacement of storm sewers and other stormwater management infrastructure to mitigate flooding and improve water management.
- Infrastructure to Enhance Access to Safe Drinking Water: Projects that enhance access to safe drinking water, particularly for individuals served by residential wells, ensuring clean and reliable water sources.
- Lead Remediation Projects: A variety of lead remediation projects that fall within the scope of EPA grant programs authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, focusing on addressing lead contamination in water systems.
Economic Development Breakdown
- Leveraging Affordable Housing Initiatives: Directing funds toward affordable housing initiatives that provide housing solutions for vulnerable households. This supports impacted households and contributes to overall community stability.
- Fostering Public/Private Partnerships for the Unbanked/Underbanked Residents: Efforts are made to establish partnerships between public and private sectors to address financial inclusion for unbanked and underbanked residents. This includes creating accessible banking services and financial literacy programs.
- Addressing Instructional Learning Loss and Childcare Deserts: Funds are allocated to address instructional learning loss caused by the pandemic and to alleviate childcare deserts. This could involve supporting educational programs and expanding childcare access for working families.
- Aiding Non-Profit Organizations: Funding is directed towards non-profit organizations that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. This supports their continued operation and their ability to provide essential services to the community.
- Supporting Qualified Small Businesses in Critical Supply Chain: The methodology emphasizes providing financial assistance to small businesses that are integral to critical supply chains, such as healthcare, food, and logistics. This helps stabilize essential sectors and maintain economic resilience.
Overall, the program methodology seeks to utilize the allocated funds strategically to address immediate needs and promote long-term economic recovery. By focusing on impacted households, healthy children, and supporting key industries, the methodology aims to ensure a more stable and prosperous future for Will County.
Center for Economic Development
- Enhanced Support to Microbusinesses
- Business Incubators and Start-Up or Expansion Assistance
- Job Training to Support In-Demand Fields.