The first funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will reach community based organizations in the next few weeks. They will go to support the basic needs of families and people experiencing homelessness, and to provide opportunity for young people in Madison. This is the first step in implementing the ARPA framework outlined by the Mayor and endorsed by the Council.

Agencies that applied for funding through the COVID Relief and Violence Prevention RFP process but were not initially funded will be receiving the first American Rescue Plan Act 2021 allocations. The City received $1.5 million in requests with only $225,000 authorized for awards via the original RFP process.

Organizations that will receive funding under the Connections to Basic Needs ARPA allocation will support individuals and families impacted by violence – providing access to financial assistance for utilities, food, school supplies and other needs identified by program participants.

These organizations include:

  • YWCA Madison – Empower Home Program: Providing direct assistance to cover costs of other basic needs to families and single women served by the program.
  • Tellurian Homeless Services Program: Assist those struggling with issues beyond access to housing by working with housed individuals and families who are still struggling to meet their other basic needs.
  • Outreach LGBTQ: Provide more direct assistance to low income and homeless LGBTQ+ clients effected by COVID.

Youth employment programs will also receive funding in this first round. Existing programs will receive expansion funds to continue through the fall serving low-income youth and youth of color who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Funded agencies and their programs include:

  • Briarpatch Madison Streets Team/Allied Work Crews
  • CEO’s of Tomorrow: Impactful Creation Store
  • Charles Hamilton Houston Institute: Dear Diary
  • Goodman Community Center: TEENWorks
  • Lussier Community Center: Youth Action Summer Interns
  • Mentoring Positives: Off the Block Enterprises
  • Madison Starlings Volleyball: Youth Summer Coaches

Further, all programs link Madison students to available MMSD work based learning credit. Through a partnership between the City of Madison and local credit unions, many programs are offering students the opportunity to open non-custodial bank accounts and receive up to 10 hours of financial empowerment education as part of summer programming. Mentorship and community-based learning are both important components of the City’s youth employment initiative.

We’re incredibly grateful that these funds can reach many of our most marginalized communities through organizations with which they already have relationships and who have a critical cultural understanding of our community. These funds will provide a much needed bridge for many families still reeling from the effects of COVID-19.

This is one of the first of many allocations Madisonians can expects to see from the ARPA funds over the next two years. Those wishing to participate in the upcoming ARPA information session, or who are looking to stay up to date with allocations and requests for proposals that will come from these funds, should follow along at

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Category: Equity