ST. LOUIS – The plan for how the City of St. Louis spends federal stimulus money aimed at addressing the fallout from COVID-19 moves forward Thursday. The city’s Stimulus Advisory Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. and will hear input from residents.
The meeting will be held virtually and includes an opportunity for the public to offer its input.
Mayor Tishaura Jones outlined her priorities on Wednesday, stating the Stimulus Advisory Board has recommended the initial help should address critical needs of individuals, families, businesses, and neighborhoods across the city, before turning to infrastructure needs and larger transformative investments.
Keith Shackleford, owner of Shack’s Barber Shop on Olive Street, hopes the plan will include funding for small businesses hit hard during the pandemic.
“Small businesses are the backbone of most cities,” he said. “COVID changed the way we did business, so now you have to re-define how you do your business.”
The city has received $249 million of $517 million it expects to receive from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Here are the current 6 priorities for spending the initial $68 million in federal relief money:
- Critical Health Needs: Begin mobile vaccination efforts, community canvassing, and more to increase vaccine access in low-income communities
- Housing and Utility Assistance: Expand and expedite rental and mortgage assistance efforts, including legal assistance
- Support for Unhoused Neighbors: Fund an intentional encampment for those not ready for a shelter environment as well as a 24-hour shelter
- Economic Relief: Facilitate small business grants, provide startups and small businesses ready to scale with technical assistance and workforce development
- Youth & Job Programming: Expand youth programming at recreation centers, adding social workers to recreation centers to address the behavioral and mental health needs of young people in St. Louis, and making recreation centers vaccine hubs for youth
- Expanding Internet Access: Install Public wifi points in portions of the city with the lowest rates of internet access, partnership with St. Louis Public Libraries (SLPL) to increase access to phones, tablets, routers, and mobile hotspots