LINCOLN–(News Release Aug. 17)–City of Lincoln and Lancaster County officials on Tuesday announced the availability of $21 million for nonprofit services impacted by the pandemic. Priorities for the funding are needs that are exacerbated by the pandemic, including food, housing, utilities, mental health, racial equity, and victim safety. The funding is made available by the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
“This is a historic opportunity for our community to meet pandemic related needs and improve the lives of people in our community through life-changing services like food assistance, family therapy, safe housing, and so much more,” said City Council Chair James Michael Bowers. “We are committed to deploying these resources as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our residents.”
“We know that nonprofits have met exceptional needs throughout the pandemic with compassion and integrity,” said Lancaster County Commissioner Deb Schorr. “Housing and shelter needs, food, utility assistance, and health care were among the top demands in the last year, and we are prioritizing these needs. We are eager to work with our nonprofit partners to provide people with new resources and new opportunities to improve their lives.”
Projects will be funded through the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) a partnership between Lancaster County, the City of Lincoln, and community stakeholders. In deciding which projects will receive funding, JBC members will use research they conducted in partnership with the University of Nebraska. Interested nonprofits can access the application and additional information on program timelines and criteria at lincoln.ne.gov/ARP. A total of $15 million will be available through this process.
The remaining $6 million will be specifically allocated to youth crisis stabilization and recovery services. The Nebraska Family Helpline reported a 74% increase in calls during the pandemic, and said a significant number of those calls were related to requests for mental health support.
“Mental health is a priority for our community,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “Crisis stabilization and mental health services are essential for family well-being and for the most effective response to the growing number of calls to the Lincoln Police Department by those experiencing mental health crises. These resources will be transformational for young people, families, health care providers, and our broader community.”
This funding is a part of an overall strategic plan by the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County to deploy American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. The American Rescue Plan provides a wide variety of programs and resources, such as childcare tax credits and housing assistance. In addition, states and localities were provided funding to meet local needs. The funds must be spent out in the next three years and may not be used for tax relief or pension funding. Funds must be used to meet urgent needs created by the pandemic.
For more information, visit lincoln.ne.gov/ARP.