Board recommends St. Louis federal relief spending


ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones promises her administration’s plan for spending federal stimulus funds will have a direct impact on improving lives.

“I am committed to investing these funds in line with the community’s priorities for maximum transformational impact,” she told members of an advisory board during a virtual, public meeting Thursday night.

15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green serves on the advisory committee that presented its recommendations for how to spend the first $68 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“The underlying priority for all of this is how do we equitably distribute these funds to make sure that those who are the most in need are the folks that have access to them,” she said.

Committee priorities were made public earlier in the week.

Some of those priorities include health care access, mental health help, housing assistance, relief for small businesses and the unemployed, violence intervention, and more resources for youth.

Bringing back a Midnight Basketball program is one priority. Other recommendations include opening a safe space for those without a home and creating an intentional encampment for individuals not ready to transition to a shelter.

“You can tell a lot about the character of a city by how it treats the least fortunate among us,” said St. Patrick Center CEO Anthony D’Agostino. “In our city, we need to improve up on that. “

The center helps individuals with housing, employment and health care. D’Agostino applauds the idea of opening a safe space and creating an intentional encampment. He said other cities have created encampments so those without a home can have access to water, toilets, and other resources.

“They can see a clinician get their health care and treatment needs met,” D’Agostino said.

He doesn’t know if St. Patrick Center or another facility would be tapped to help implement any of the priorities made possible by the federal stimulus money, but is excited over the possibility of how the money could have an impact.

Jones emphasized the recommendations discussed Thursday are still recommendations.

Any spending will require the approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The board is made up of Jones, Comptroller Darlene Green, and Board President Lewis Reed. Any spending would also require approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

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