MILWAUKEE – On Thursday, August 12 at 10 am, Milwaukee County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Task Force will meet for the first time, launching an effort to recommend how Milwaukee County should allocate $183.6 million in federal funding it will receive as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden on March 11, 2021.

Milwaukee County’s ARPA Task Force is comprised of six leaders:

  • Co-Chair Ricardo Diaz, former Executive Director of the United Community Center, designated by County Executive Crowley
  • Co-Chair Shawn Rolland, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor – District 6, designated by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson
  • Ashley Adsit, Milwaukee County Director of Grants & Special Projects – designated by Department of Administrative Services Director Aaron Hertzberg
  • Jason Haas, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor – District 14 and Finance Committee Chair
  • Scott Manske, Milwaukee County Comptroller
  • Jeff Roman, Milwaukee County Office on African American Affairs Director

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen Milwaukee County – we have to get this right,” said Co-Chair Rolland. “The journey is just as important as the destination – we have to build a process that engages Milwaukee County, especially underserved neighborhoods. My hope is that we will dream big, seek out the great ideas our neighbors have to offer, and deliver strong recommendations that our community will believe in.”

During a June 17, 2021 Milwaukee County Board Finance Committee meeting, Ms. Adsit and Milwaukee County’s Budget Director Joe Lamers shared guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department on allowable uses for the APRA recovery funds:

  • Supporting the COVID-19 public health response
  • Addressing the negative economic impacts created by the pandemic
  • Serving the communities and families that were hardest hit by the virus and the economic downturn
  • Providing premium pay for essential workers
  • Investing in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure
  • Replacing county revenues lost during the pandemic

On July 13, County Executive David Crowley signed a Milwaukee County Board proposal by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson to create the ARPA Task Force. The task force will solicit public input, with a focus on outreach to underrepresented groups, to provide recommendations to allocate the $183.6 million in funding. Milwaukee County received half of its allocation this May, with the other half expected to be received in May 2022.

On June 24, 2021, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors allocated $2,749,729 of its ARPA funds authorizing the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, Housing Division to implement a pilot “Right to Counsel” program in Milwaukee County in 2021 and 2022. Created by a resolution sponsored by Ryan Clancy, Milwaukee County Supervisor – District 4, the pilot program aims to assist individuals facing evictions by providing free legal representation. According to United Way Cleveland, “93% of cases represented in Cleveland Housing Court by a Legal Aid attorney that were seeking to avoid eviction or an involuntary move avoided displacement in the first six months of Cleveland’s Right to Counsel.”

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