Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic poses a pivotal moment to build back communities better so that they can withstand future setbacks. On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law. As part of ARPA, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) was established to deliver $350 billion to state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to bolster their response to the COVID-19 emergency and its impacts.
Rebuild by Design has partnered with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of Boulder County to collect insights from community members, with an emphasis on those most impacted by the pandemic, to inform the distribution of a portion of the county’s $63 million COVID recovery funds.
Over the course of 6 weeks (September – October 2021) Rebuild worked with the Boulder County Commissioners’ Office and local partner organizations to design a community input survey and a series of convenings to inform how the County can use recovery funds to provide measurable equitable outcomes that will build assets, strength, and resilience for community members who suffered in disparate ways due to racial, social, and gender inequalities.
The input we received highlighted the great need to address the economic impacts of the pandemic, as well as affordable housing, mental health services, the cost of living, and access to affordable childcare, among many other challenges in Boulder County. You can watch our presentation to the Board of County Commissioners here.
Feedback revealed widespread skepticism and doubts from the community that their opinions will be heard. We also heard that while the County has made resources available to those who have struggled throughout the pandemic, many individuals and businesses are unaware of the programs they can access or do not know how to navigate the current systems.
Collectively, the ARPA Steering Committee (comprised of Rebuild by Design, Boulder County Staff, and Partner Organizations) organized and/or attended over 40 events, contacted over 300 local nonprofits, collected over 1500 surveys. The results and analysis of this effort are captured in the ARPA Steering Committee Preliminary Engagement Report.
Building off of the results from the engagement process, Rebuild will work with the County to design a second stage of this process.With further community input, this second phase will be focused on determining policies, programs and projects that will construct a vision for the recovery of Boulder County, creating a framework for communities to withstand future physical and economic crises.
Partner Organizations and Institutions:
- Boulder County Arts Alliance
- Community Foundation Boulder County
- Front Range Community College
- Human Services Alliance of Boulder County
- Northwest Chambers Alliance
- Peak to Peak Housing and Human Services Alliance