American Rescue Plan Act Scorecards for California Counties

California’s counties and cities are receiving a total of $16 billion flexible aid through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Program. These unprecedented local relief dollars are meant to help local communities respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds arrived at a crucial time when governments were pushed to reflect on institutionalized racism, including declaring racism as a public health crisis, following 2020’s nationwide uprisings to support Black lives and address police violence.

In Spring 2022, CPEHN conducted research and analyses of publicly available information at 11 California counties to see how counties have been spending these critical public relief dollars under ARPA. Specifically, we developed a 51-question equity metric to examine in depth counties’ efforts in uses of funds, promoting racial equity, engaging their constituents, and ensuring transparency, accessibility and accountability between March 2021 and February 2022. While local governments are receiving their second SLFRF payment from the U.S. Department of the Treasury around May 2022, CPEHN is releasing short scorecards for 11 California counties.

For our community partners, we hope this information and analysis can help break down some of the complicated, inaccessible county budget processes including those for ARPA. We also hope our publications can help strengthen your local advocacy and movement building efforts to further hold our elected officials accountable.

For county government officials, we hope our analyses spark curiosity, learning and growth. The ultimate hope is for our local governments to equitably and effectively leverage these federal relief funds to invest in public health and racial equity, to mend trust and relationships with communities, and to better serve those most in need.

Our scorecards and additional analyses will be released in batches this year. See currently available publications below. (Updated May 2, 2022) 

CPEHN ARPA Scorecards

Past Event: American Rescue Plan Act Webinar – Equity in Local Budgets

Click here for a recording of the webinar.

Click here for the webinar slides.

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and the Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition hosted a webinar to discuss how California’s local governments have been implementing the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund program, including their uses of funds, and racial equity and community engagement practices.

Local governments in California received a total of $16 billion flexible aid from the U.S. Treasury to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and address long-standing racial and social inequities. In this webinar, you will learn how CPEHN “graded” 11 of California’s counties on their fund uses and equity efforts. You will also hear directly from local organizers from Imperial County on their successful ARPA campaign with the Calexico City Council to win programs for farmworkers.

As counties and cities move on to implement the rest of their ARPA funds, we shared our analyses, best practices and opportunities for community advocates and organizations to further participate in your local budget processes. View our webinar to learn more and ensure equity is centered in how your local governments spend these critical public funds.

We want to thank our guest speaker for this webinar, Alexis Castro, MPA and community organizer from the Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition. Please reach out to ivequityjustice@gmail.org for questions or comments.

Additional Information on CPEHN’s ARPA Scorecards

Score Cards in the News:

  • Patino, Vania & Wright, Anthony. “How did Kern County spend COVID-19 relief funds?” 23ABC, May 17, 2022 [link]
  • Miller, Thaddeus. “Fresno County gets C grade on COVID spending, advocates say. Gets F for racial equity” The Fresno Bee, May 12, 2022 [link]
  • Yoon-Hendricks, Alexandra. “Exclusive: Sacramento County COVID spending gets B grade on health advocate report card.” The Sacramento Bee. May 03, 2022 [link]

Acknowledgments:

The scorecards and publications are researched and written by: Weiyu Zhang, Andrea Mackey, Jeffrey Kho and Cary Sanders at CPEHN. Additional CPEHN contributors include Kiran Savage-Sangwan, Seleny Diaz, Katherine Nasol, and Monika Lee.

The Spanish versions of the scorecards are translated by Javier Arreola.

Additionally, we want to thank Professor Iyanrick John and the students at the California State University, East Bay who contributed to the research and analyses of these scorecards, including Ferdos Abdu, Faten Abdulqawi, Lindsay Enriquez, Deepali Giri, Tenzin Kunsel, Jackelyn Marroquin, Manvi Pal, Hayley Parker-Nelson, Vanessa Ramirez-Casiano, Madison Suko, Adele Swing, Galilea Villalpando Becerra and Hilay Wardak.

We want to thank the community non-profit organizations listed below for reviewing our scorecards and sharing their work and lived experiences in the counties we analyzed:

  • Advancement Project California
  • California Rural Legal Aid Foundation
  • Central California Environmental Justice Network
  • Central Valley Urban Institute
  • Decarcerate Sacramento
  • Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities
  • Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies
  • Pomona Economic Opportunity Center
  • Public Health Advocates
  • Sacramento Homeless Union
  • Vision Y Compromiso

Finally, we want to thank the many county administrative staff who responded to our requests and shared additional information for our research.

The scorecards and publications are designed by Firefighter Print and Design.


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