American Rescue Plan Act
On March 11, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). ARPA is an ambitious initiative to stimulate the American economy, support residents, and curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Cook County will directly receive over $1 billion from the federal government through ARPA and is in the process of developing a responsible, comprehensive, and equitable spending plan to strategically use these one-time resources to support both immediate recovery needs and long-term transformative initiatives.
Additionally, municipalities in Cook County with populations over 50,000 will receive direct funding from ARPA while the State of Illinois is responsible for distributing funding to entities with less than 50,000 residents.
Cook County's Guiding Principles and Values Regarding American Rescue Plan Act Funds
To ensure the best use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) resources, Cook County will:
- Target ARPA funding to support County policy priorities;
- Center decision-making on core values of equity, engagement, and excellence;
- Build on foundation of existing County and regional efforts, including Cook County Policy Roadmap: Five-Year Strategic Plan for Offices Under the President, the Cook County Equity Fund and We Rise Together;
- Avoid duplication of resources; leverage existing efforts and infrastructure;
- Maximize all ARPA funding by cross-mapping initiatives against more restrictive funding streams first;
- Implement best practices from the COVID-19 response.
- Stand-up additional capacity, infrastructure, and expertise early;
- Offer technical assistance to local governments regarding effective administration of ARPA Funds;
- Maintain flexibility to reallocate funding as needs and federal guidance evolve;
- Use one-time funds for one-time uses, or have a path to sustainability.
With the help of the Civic Consulting Alliance, Cook County is hard at work planning how we will invest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. As you can imagine, a great deal of work goes into a $1 billion spending plan and we want to do it right: in an open, honest and transparent manner. The first step of this process is engagecookcounty.com. This website is part of a tiered and robust community engagement processto solicit input and feedback from a broad and diverse group of residents and stakeholders across Cook County.
A survey is now available to let us know your highest priorities for Cook County’s ARPA spending plan.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the ARPA process and provide your own ideas and input, you can participate in a wiki survey here.
Based on preliminary discussions with employees, partners, and other stakeholders, a number of major themes for ARPA funds have already begun to emerge. These themes include:
- Supporting healthy, thriving communities
- Providing services for vulnerable residents
- Driving equitable recovery and growth
- Strengthening local governments
- Investing in key infrastructure
- Supporting the metropolitan region
Residents or groups who would like to receive information on partnering on this community engagement process or have questions can email ARPA@cookcountyil.gov.
Please check back soon for updates on our community engagement efforts.