Buncombe Commissioners Allocate $11 Million in ARPA Funding for 17 Initiatives

Press release from Buncombe County:

The second round of allocations of COVID Recovery Funding projects will see $11 million directed to support for families, public safety, aid to local businesses, affordable housing initiatives, and more. On Nov. 16, the Board of Commissioners approved $11,035,004 for County investment projects that continue to meet community needs head-on, bringing the cumulative total of investments to more than $22.3 million.

In May, Buncombe County received the first installment of the awarded $50,733,290 from the American Rescue Plan, also known as COVID Recovery Funding. Following a public input period and receiving nearly 150 project proposals, the Board allocated $11.3 million on Aug. 31.

County Commissioners continue to focus on public input, equity, and identifying projects that further our Buncombe 2025 Strategic Plan Goals. After the initial allocation, the Board held three virtual public input sessions to hear the community’s thoughts on prioritizing the funds and heard presentations from the applying organizations.

Commission Chair Brownie Newman said: “Thanks to all the organizations in the community who took time to share their ideas and talk with us. We are proud of the innovation of our community partners in responding to the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic. We’re excited to be able to put these funds to good use making a difference in people’s lives now and for years to come.”

This is the second allocation in what will be multiple rounds of awards, and these projects will help with short- and long-term community goals while addressing ongoing pandemic-related economic to local businesses, creative sectors, and disproportionately impacted communities.

Highlights of the Commissioner-approved projects as part of the $11 million at the Tuesday, Nov. 16 meeting:

  • Public Health: two projects, $2,374,873 (including mental health & crisis care)
  • Negative Economic Impacts: nine projects, $2,407,400 (including aid to households & business development)
  • Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities: five projects, $5,807,731 (including affordable housing & survivor support)
  • Broadband: one project, $445,000 (including internet access & digital literacy)

For a complete list of project applications, click here. A PDF of Recovery Funds Awards as of Nov. 16, 2021 is attached.

The next round of funding is expected in May of 2022. The federal government provides guidance about how this money can be used and when projects must be started and completed. Buncombe County is committed to investing these funds in projects that:

·         Align to County strategic plan and community priorities

·         Support equitable outcomes for most impacted populations

·         Leverage and align with other governmental funding sources

·         Make best use of this one-time infusion of resources

·         Have a lasting impact

If you or anyone you know are struggling to pay your rent, mortgage, or utilities, Buncombe County’s COVID Housing Assistance Program may be able to help. Click here for more information.

Follow along at Buncombe County’s COVID recovery funding webpage: buncombecounty.org/recoveryfunding.

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