Skip sidebar navigation

Gresham tailors American Rescue Plan Act funding to meet the needs of the community

December 9, 2021

On Tuesday, December 7, the City of Gresham City Council voted to allocate the first half of Gresham’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Act funds. Prior to this, during the month of October, Gresham community members were asked to participate in a survey to help the City to better understand their needs and what supports would be most helpful to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 700 residents responded with representation from each neighborhood within the City of Gresham.

"It was important for us to balance the needs of our community that is still recovering from the pandemic, while delivering critical services to help keep our community safe,” said Mayor Travis Stovall. “I’m proud that these funding packages mirror the priorities we heard from the community.

Based off the input from the community, Gresham City Council members made the following decisions:

  • Public safety package: Allocated a total package of $2.689 million for Police and Fire, including hiring incentives for Police officers, three civilian Police positions to alleviate workload for detectives and address the rise in violent crime across the region, expansion of the Police Mental Health/Services Coordination Team to add two clinicians; three Firefighter Paramedic limited term positions, and $250,000 for Fire services.
  • Housing and houselessness: Allocated a total package of $750,000 for expansion of the homeless services team, a limited term housing resource coordinator position to connect residents to resources, and a modest amount of administrative support for nonprofits with CBDG/HOME contracts with the City.
  • Business grant program: Allocated $500,000 for a grant to mitigate financial impacts to businesses due to the pandemic. 50% of the pool will be allocated for state-certified women, minority, veteran, emerging businesses. The grants will launch in February.
  • Community support package: Allocated $60,000 to utility assistance and $420,000 to a community needs grant program, which allows nonprofits to apply to provide critical community services like childcare assistance, rent assistance, food support or other related needs. The City anticipates launching this grant in December.
  • Youth violence prevention program: Immediately upon receiving ARPA funds this fall, City Council allocated $1 million to develop a youth violence prevention program that will coordinate with community partners to provide culturally responsive services to prevent youth violence in Gresham.
  • Preserving affordable housing: Earlier this fall, Council also voted to issue a short-term loan of $1.2 million to Human Solutions to allow the purchase of the Aldercrest Apartments, which preserves 59 units designated affordable for low-income residents, many of whom are elderly or disabled.
  • Organizational stability: Council voted to allocate $1.35 million in ARPA funds to fill the projected gap between revenue and expenses for FY 2022/23. This fall, Council also voted to set aside $500,000 for potential COVID-19 expenses like personal protective equipment and contact tracing services. Finally, Council allocated a modest 3% of APRA funds to cover administrative costs of distributing these funds, adhering to reporting requirements, and administering grant programs.

This decision by Council leaves the City with a balance of $3.85 million in ARPA funds with an additional $12.7 million that will be received in fall 2022. Staff will return to Council in February to seek direction on strategy for allocating these ARPA funds. Visit GreshamOregon.gov/ARPA for more information.

Recognizing that ARPA funds are limited and that the community has clearly indicated public safety as a priority, it is worth noting that the City is also making the following efforts regarding public safety: 

  • Working with the BerryDunn Consulting Group to conduct an organizational review of the Gresham Police Department.
  • Developing a holistic community violence and crime reduction strategy called Safe Gresham. This plan will incorporate specific prevention, intervention, and collaborative initiatives that the City of Gresham will be implementing.
  • Partnership with Operations of Safe Streets, which is a federal/area specific task force, will continue as will our involvement with other local restorative justice initiatives and gun violence reduction initiatives.
  • The Gresham Police Department is partnering with the Gresham/Barlow School District to implement a Youth/Police Focus Group.
  • A Special Victims Investigation Unit has been created with existing staff.
  • Hiring a recruiter specific to the Police Department as well as internal backgrounders.
  • Dedicating monies to promote recruiting efforts including, but not limited to radio advertisements, billboards, and job fairs.
  • Streamlining the hiring process with the use of technology when possible, to increase efficiency.

Positive steps are being taken to address the challenges that face our city, to support our officers, and to create a safe community. We will continue to find additional opportunities to share more information with our community on a regular basis.