Final $30.6M in ARPA spending committed

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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The Center Square

Tennessee committed its final $30.6 million in federal pandemic relief funding to a housing program and a rural health program.

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In all, Tennessee has committed more than $3.7 billion in funds through the Tennessee Resiliency Plan, an effort approved by the state’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group.

On Friday, Tennessee plans to launch an American Rescue Plan Fiscal Recovery Fund dashboard so the public can track the progress of the spending on a line-by-line basis similar to the state’s CARES Act dashboard.

The most recent commitments were a $20.6 million increase in funding for the state’s Health Resiliency Program. Those funds will go to a portion of the program aimed at improving and upgrading medical practices.

The group initially sent $230 million to the Health Resiliency Plan with $145 million for capital grants and $75 million for practice transformation grants. Through the process, $21.5 million of the capital grants were remaining and transferred to the practice transformation program along with the new $20.6 million in funding to allow the program to fully fund 18 projects with a prioritization toward grants helping practices in at-risk and distressed counties.

The final $10 million went to a statewide affordable housing program for working families from the NeighborWorks Alliance, Tennessee Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities and the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises.

The funding will go toward pre-development housing work such as water and sewer, repair of current housing, creating new multi-family and single-family housing and working toward affordable housing preservation through the purchase of market-rate rental property.

The work is intended to span the state, from Shelby to Washington counties with work in Madison, Henderson, Warren, Grundy, Cumberland, Sevier and Claiborne counties as well.

The fiscal accountability group initially approved $3.1 billion in projects in 2021 as part of the Tennessee Resiliency Plan, with $304 million added in March 2022 and $115.5 million in July 2022.

The American Rescue Plan funds must be obligated by Dec. 31 and spent by Dec. 31, 2026. The fiscal accountability group recently held its last meeting and does not expect to have further surplus funds.

If it does, however, 75% will be spent on health programs and 25% on housing. If the excess is larger than $10 million of unspent funds in any quarter, the group will meet again.