The city of St. Petersburg has announced its final plans on how it will spend $45 million awarded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) back in 2021.
“Our allocation of these ARPA funds will have a positive impact on housing opportunities for all, as well as neighborhood health and safety,” St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch said in a statement.
“This partnership with City Council and the (Joe) Biden Administration will allow us to provide much needed resources to our residents in need, and moves our strategic vision and efforts forward in our pursuit of inclusive progress for St. Petersburg.”
So, what will be funded by the federal award? To combat the historic rise in housing costs and skyrocketing rent increases, the city plans to address the affordable housing crisis by building new housing units, providing rental assistance opportunities, open family shelters and continue supportive services.
The largest chunk of funding — $23.8 million — will be used to construct multifamily affordable housing. On Thursday, the St. Pete City Council approved a series of affordable housing projects that will utilize the $23.8 million to add a total of 483 new affordable units to St. Pete.
The units will be spread throughout the entire city, and considered affordable for those with incomes under 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Two of these projects will target special populations, such as people with disabilities and homeless individuals, and two projects will target senior citizens.
Another $6.5 million will be used for the Deuces Housing and Community Development Project, including 24 units for households with incomes at 80% of the AMI.
The city will also fund smaller projects with the fund, including $2.5 million for a scattered-site family shelter to meet the needs of homeless families with children experiencing a housing emergency through December 2024. Funding will allow for safe shelter, housing focused intensive case management, and assistance in locating permanent housing.
The city will also implement permanent support services with $1 million from the funds.
The city is contracting with Boley Centers to provide case management and wraparound services for permanent supportive housing for residents at or below 65% AMI through December 2024. An additional $500,000 will provide funding for administrative costs, including a full-time employee, through December 2026, to perform duties related to the ARPA Housing Affordability and Support initiatives and the city’s other housing programs.
As for the $11.1 million set aside for health and social equity services, the city plans to provide $8.58 million through December 2026 for a neighborhood-based coordinated wraparound social service hubs and nonprofit capacity building. Currently, the city is working with contractors to identify a lead organization to establish a network of coordinated, neighborhood-based, trauma-informed social service hubs.
The hubs will have available emergency funding to address crisis needs and stabilize households. Once stabilized, the hubs will provide trauma-informed therapy, case management and assertive outreach. These services will be provided by local, trusted nonprofit organizations already knowledgeable of and embedded in targeted communities, according to the city.
The city will direct another $1.179 million for three food security projects, as well as $946,435 for two youth development projects.
Finally, the city will use $405,000 to monitor the impact of this funding to track the progress.