COVID-19 Funding

Summary of 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding and the latest information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Project Overview

The City of Boulder received over $3.5 million dollars in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding and has been allotted about $20 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. ARPA is a $1.9 Trillion stimulus bill to speed US recovery from economic and health effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.

American Rescue Plan Act Funding

Boulder will receive about $20 million as part of the ARPA local government recovery allocation. Half will be received in mid-2021 and the other half will be received in mid-2022.

Unlike previous rounds of coronavirus relief funding, which were used to address immediate needs resulting from COVID-19, ARPA is designed to allow local governments to address both the pandemic’s short-term and long-term impacts. The city has until the end of 2024 to decide how to funds will be spent and until 2026 to complete the expenditures.

Funding Guidelines

Federal law spells out several guidelines for how ARPA funds must be spent. Additionally, the city is developing its own guiding principles to inform how the funding is spent, which will reference the city’s Sustainability + Resilience Framework and Racial Equity Instrument. This means the city will consider using the funds to address the needs of the hardest hit community members and disparities in housing, health and education and promoting healthy childhood environments. Guiding principles for how the city will leverage the funds include:

  • Community recovery: Invest in community, including residents, nonprofits, and businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. 
  • Inclusive economic recovery: Efforts that catalyze economic revitalization in the community including support for businesses, nonprofits, arts and culture venues, tourism, and hospitality industries and the self-employed.
  • Transformative infrastructure: Critical infrastructure in areas such as water, sewer, or broadband that contribute to a livable, accessible and connected community.
  • City organization and financial recovery: Support a structurally resilient city organization.

There are several ways these funds cannot be spent, including funding debt, deposits to rainy day funds and general infrastructure (outside of water, sewer or broadband).

For more information, visit the ARPA fact sheet.

Next Steps

A cross-departmental staff team has been formed to research the restrictions and uses of ARPA funds and to develop an initial funding needs assessment. This team will provide an update to City Council in August 2021.

City Council will review and provide feedback on staff’s recommendations for how to use the funds, beginning with recommendations to address immediate needs. For longer-term expenditures, the intention is to have a more extensive process that will be approved by City Council. This process will likely take place over the next year to ensure funds will be committed by the end of 2024.

Immediate objectives for the funding include:

  • Continuing human service and related economic response to COVID.
  • Connecting individuals to critical recovery information and services.
  • Supporting a structurally resilient city organization financial plan.

2020 Coronavirus Funding

The City of Boulder received over $3.5 million dollars in The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. To ensure an equitable community recovery, these funds were heavily used to support impacted individuals, local businesses and non-profits throughout the pandemic.

COVID-19’s health and economic impacts were felt by people across our community. The city’s goal was to help community members alleviate displacement, hunger and lack of access to essential services due to COVID-19. About 50% of the total funding was set aside for local organizations working to benefit the community’s most vulnerable populations. Areas of focus include homelessness services, food assistance, rental assistance, mental and behavioral health, financial assistance and bridging the digital divide.

Local businesses were also heavily impacted by the pandemic and to support the local economy, the city dedicated 45% of the funding to the business community. This support came in the form of grants and short-term programs designed to alleviate the economic burden of the pandemic.