How Richmond plans to spend $155 million in coronavirus relief funds

Posted at 7:01 AM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 09:50:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. — City leaders in Richmond will vote Monday night on what to do with millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan.

The majority of the $155 million from the federal government will go towards creating four new community centers in the city.

The centers are going to cost a little more than $70 million total, but city councilors hope they will serve as workforce centers and provide recreational opportunities for some of the city’s youth.

A few million dollars are being allocated to storm water mitigation, specifically for neighborhoods that have experienced frequent flooding.

Then, $20 million is being put into the city’s affordable housing trust fund to help combat the shortage of inexpensive options in the city right now, and $1.5 million is going directly to gun violence prevention.

City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch said while the past year and a half has been difficult, she wants Richmonders to know help is on the way.

"We're hoping to build our community stronger, healthier to focus in on the well being of our residents to offer both the temporary and the long-term solutions to really give us a holistic approach to healing and building back better," Lynch noted.

There’s also going to be $10 million dedicated to small businesses for 0% interest loans, and Lynch said she fought for $1 million to go toward creating a family crisis fund. That fund will give direct cash assistance to families that need it as a result of the pandemic.

She expects that money to be available in December, and applications will go out around that time for families in need.

Council is expected to pass this budget amendment at its meeting Monday night.

The city gathered feedback on the draft plan from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4 and reached 1,300 individuals.