Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly wants to invest the $30 million in American Rescue Plan funds the city is receiving in 36 initiatives he hopes will spur economic growth while closing gaps in public health and education.
With investments in affordable housing, workforce development, early learning and public health and safety, the proposed spending plan aims to “address Chattanooga’s most difficult challenges and catalyze generational change,” the mayor says in a news release from his office.
“Chattanooga suffers from long-standing social and economic inequalities driven by the ongoing disinvestment and neglect of some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods.
“While it will take more than $30 million to solve these deep-rooted issues, this investment represents a step forward in removing the barriers that have created and sustained inequities in Chattanooga for too long, especially among the Black community.”
Kelly’s $30 million investment would focus on the following priority areas:
• $5.8 million to increase availability of affordable homes, creating more than 230 new affordable rental units
• $5.3 million toward preventing homelessness and supporting the transition to permanent housing
• $1.6 million to preserve existing affordable housing
• $5.9 million toward workforce development initiatives
• $2.9 million to expand access to resources for minority business owners and entrepreneurs
• $3.7 million for public safety and youth mentorship initiatives
• $1.2 million to improve access to mental health care while also helping expand and diversify the city’s mental health workforce
• $3.6 million to expand the city’s early learning system
These investments include $11 million for local, minority-led initiatives and $10 million in seed investments for new or expanded programs.
The final spending plan is contingent upon City Council approval, which is slated for July 26.
The city invited the Chattanooga community to submit applications for funding through a notice of funding opportunity posted in April. It then received than 200 applications totaling over $200 million in funding requests.
Initiatives were selected based on a competitive technical review process, during which a committee composed of the mayor’s senior staff evaluated each application according to five criteria:
• Community priorities
• Outcome and impact
• Racial equity and inclusion
• Organizational structure
Upon approval by City Council, the city would begin providing technical assistance to the selected organizations for the duration of the funding period, which lasts through the end of 2024.
“The initiatives selected for funding work across multiple areas of focus and will help us reach those who have the most need,” says Kelly. “From the creation of a new low-barrier shelter to expanding broadband connectivity to low-income households across the city, I’m looking forward to working alongside these organizations.”
The Chattanooga Equitable Recovery Commission guided the creation of the spending plan. It then issued a recommended framework for the city’s American Rescue Plan investments, which Kelly adopted in April.
Source: Office of the mayor