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May 12, 2009

RE: NLC Briefs Help Local Officials
Make the Most of the Recovery Act

Dear Mayor:

As part of its efforts to connect local officials with information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, NLC is creating a series of briefs focused on the funds available in the bill and how to access them.

NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) has developed the first set of in-depth briefs, describing opportunities to use economic recovery package funding to advance local priorities. NLC plans to produce additional briefs on other topics related to the recovery act, including workforce development, public transportation, energy efficiency and broadband access. These briefs are designed to help local leaders identify opportunities for action and determine how to maximize the impact of ARRA dollars at the local level.

The YEF Institute has also prepared an overview of funding opportunities available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 that will or could go to municipal governments to support programs and services for children, youth, and families.

To download the funding overview or any of the briefs in this series, visit www.nlc.org/recovery.

The ARRA briefs that are currently available focus on the following areas:
Youth violence prevention: Municipalities can use new federal funding for local law enforcement projects, police hiring, and employment and service opportunities for young people. These funds can support comprehensive local gang and youth violence reduction plans that blend prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies.

Afterschool: Municipalities can expand after-school and summer programs for children and youth with new ARRA funding for child care, education, community service, employment and training, and youth violence prevention. Some of these dollars will flow to municipalities, while others will be directed to states, school districts and nonprofits.

Early childhood success: New ARRA funding is available to expand Head Start and Early Head Start, provide child care subsidies, expand child care facilities, improve the quality of child care programs and support programs for young children with disabilities.


Foreclosure prevention/neighborhood stabilization: The recovery package offers funding to help municipalities minimize the impact of the housing crisis on families and neighborhoods by: stemming the tide of home foreclosures; providing emergency shelter, rapid re-housing support, education, and other emergency services for displaced families; managing the fluctuating housing supply; and rebuilding distressed neighborhoods.

Youth employment: ARRA funding can help municipalities provide summer and year-round employment opportunities for disconnected youth in ways that promote learning, career exploration, and long-term workforce development. ARRA includes $1.2 billion specifically dedicated to youth employment activities under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), 30 percent of which must be spent on out-of-school youth. Municipalities can use additional funding for high-growth and emerging industry/green jobs grants, YouthBuild, Brownfields Job Training Grants and Americorps to support youth employment.

Access to tax credits and public benefits: ARRA — along with reauthorizations of the food stamp and State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) programs — has expanded eligibility for an array of tax credits and health, nutrition and child care benefits that will help needy families during tough economic times. Local officials can boost their local economies by helping families access these additional federal dollars, which include new funding and/or expanded eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, the new Making Work Pay tax credit, food stamps, WIC, Child Care and Development Block Grant and SCHIP.

Multiple pathways to graduation: As municipalities increasingly work with school districts to provide multiple pathways to graduation for students who struggle in traditional high school settings, new ARRA funding for school improvement grants, an “Investing in What Works and Innovation Fund,” bonding authority for school renovation and modernization, YouthBuild grants and WIA youth funding can help support these efforts.

Other NLC recovery resources include a series of webcasts on ARRA and links on NLC’s website, www.nlc.org/recovery.

The staff at the National League of Cities is doing an outstanding job on this. We thank them for that and for all that they do for American municipalities and municipal officials.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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