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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Preckwinkle Highlights Nearly $300 Million Pandemic Relief Plan

First steps in planned $700 million for community programs over next several years

Pandemic relief, COVID-19 relief

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle highlighted a nearly $300 million pandemic relief plan approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that includes major investments in small business assistance, violence prevention, digital equity, and infrastructure improvements in Fiscal Year 2022. 

Over the next three to five years, the County will be investing $700 million, roughly 70% of the federal funds received, in community programs for County residents. 

“Cook County directly received over $1 billion from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and coordinated an extensive process to develop this responsible, comprehensive and equitable spending plan,” Preckwinkle said. “This is a historic federal investment that we haven’t seen in almost a century. With an equitable lens, we will strategically invest in our communities using a holistic approach using these one-time resources to support both immediate recovery needs and long-term transformative initiatives.”

Pandemic Relief Summary

The nearly $300 million first phase of this pandemic relief plan calls for near-term, long-term, and transformative initiatives being put forward at board meetings in the coming months including:

  • $100 million dollars to fund economic and community growth. This includes $37 million for economic development and small business grant programs and $27.7 million for housing assistance, utility bill assistance, and millions in seed funding for a guaranteed income pilot and work to abolish medical debt.
  • $60 million toward healthcare and health access initiatives. This includes $21.7 million for continued contact tracing efforts and a gift card incentive program to encourage vaccinations. In the plan, the County proposes spending $15.4 million in Fiscal Year 2022 to increase mental and behavioral health services throughout Cook County and $4.5 million to create a more transparent and equitable local food system to address food security in our region.
  • $60 million for equity and justice initiatives with $36 million for violence prevention. This includes violence prevention and reduction grants and behavioral health expansion. It will also include funding for programs and services for domestic violence victims and housing reentry resources.
  • $40 million on high-priority infrastructure projects including $30 million for local transportation infrastructure and electric vehicle charging stations, $5 million for lead pipe removal and $3 million for broadband expansion.
  • $25 million for environmental projects including $15 million for Brownfield remediation and an initiative to make it easier to dispose of hazardous waste in the south suburbs as well as $10 million to retrofit Cook County homes to make them safer and more energy efficient.

“While we undoubtedly have a long way to go over the next three years to make the best use of the $1 billion in federal relief, we are immensely proud of the work that has been done to get us here,” President Preckwinkle said. “This has been a massive undertaking. It is the product of countless meetings, thousands of community responses, hundreds of policy ideas, and billions of dollars in proposed initiatives.”

Detailed information on the pandemic relief plan as well and the robust public engagement process that informed the plan are now available online at CookCountyIL.gov/ARPA

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