The American Rescue Plan Is Working. Here Are Nine Concrete Examples.

3 min readJun 7


President Biden’s first major piece of legislation, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), continues to improve the lives of Americans in cities and states around the country. The law has not only helped communities recover from the COVID pandemic but is allowing families and businesses to thrive. One key to the law’s success: investing in states and localities and giving them the flexibility to address the biggest challenges facing their communities. In the wake of the last economic emergency pre-COVID, the Great Recession, state and local governments were hit hard and the ensuing job losses and program cuts made recovery much harder. This time, Washington took a different approach with COVID relief funds and the results speak for themselves.

In late May, the NewDEAL released three reports highlighting the impact of investments from ARPA’s state and local recovery funds on childcare access, housing affordability, and economic opportunity.

The three reports feature policymakers from 29 states and more than 40 communities. Here are nine highlights:


  • Boston, MA: Mayor Michelle Wu used ARPA funds to enhance the post-pandemic early childhood sector through internships, scholarships, 800 educator certificates/degrees, and wraparound support services.
  • Columbus, OH: Council President Shannon Hardin used $3.5 million in ARPA funding to award 63 affordability scholarships to low-income families and provide 169 one-time $1,000 signing bonuses for new childcare workers.
  • Richmond, VA: Mayor Levar Stoney invested ARPA funding in high-quality childcare programs, opening a new childcare facility, and allocating funds for new centers to increase access for more than 200 families.


  • Denver, CO: State Senator Chris Hansen sponsored a bill that invests ARPA funding into developing and operating a navigation campus assisting residents experiencing homelessness in the Denver-metropolitan region.
  • Boise, ID: Mayor Lauren McLean used ARPA funding to support more than 3,200 households earning 80% of the average income or less.
  • Kansas City, MO: Mayor Quinton Lucas oversaw ARPA funding to support more than 450 affordable homes across 14 projects.

Jobs and Economic Growth

  • La Mesa, CA: Councilmember Colin Parent is using ARPA funds to support small business recovery, startups, and an Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (LEAP), offering grants for training and exterior property improvements.
  • Oakland County, MI: County Executive Dave Coulter used ARPA funds to invest in the Oakland80 program, aiming to help 80% of county residents obtain a post-high school degree or credential by 2030.
  • Salt Lake City, UT: Mayor Erin Mendenhall is using ARPA funds to create neighborhood centers providing job training and assistance services.

The partnership between the federal government and state and local leaders has been key to responding to a pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis. Only two years after the law passed, we are just now beginning to see the impact that state and local leaders will have in advancing solutions on seemingly intractable challenges.

These nine examples are only a snapshot of ARPA’s impact. Visit the NewDEAL’s ARPA in Action site to read more and learn about the latest policy efforts from NewDEAL Leaders.




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