Originally published: June 21, 2022
Full-time city of Omaha employees to receive $3,000 as part of second distribution of ARPA funding
OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said Tuesday that full-time city employees will receive $3,000 as a “thank you” for work during the pandemic.
The funds, which were announced Tuesday as part of the city’s latest distribution of funding from the American Recovery Plan Act, will be paid over several pay periods starting next month.
This round of funding will also support expanding affordable housing, improvements to public spaces and coordinating services for persons experiencing homelessness.
Stothert said the city has received more than $112 million in ARPA funds, of which $9 million will pay to full-time employees. Elected officials aren’t eligible.
“The primary use of ARPA funds is for local governments to replace losses through 2023,” Stothert said. “However, funds can also be used to support community programs, respond to pandemic impacts, and promote economic recovery. The programs we have created and funded are especially important and will have community-wide benefits.”
The city council would need to sign off on the plans.
The mayor announced the first two programs using ARPA funds in January. The first program awarded $15 million in grants to nonprofits.
Under the plan, the city partnered with Omaha Community Foundation and United Way of the Midlands to distribute the grants.
OCF is distributing $10 million to non-profits addressing issues like workforce development, violence intervention, and mental health crisis response.
United Way of the Midlands is distributing the other $5 million to nonprofits that deal with issues like hunger, shelter, homelessness, and financial literacy. President and CEO Shawna Forsberg said calls to the United Way’s 24/7, 211 hotline went from 70,000 a year in 2019 to 200,000 in 2021.
The second program was dubbed a “hotel stimulus.”
The program was developed by Visit Omaha and would be managed by the city’s finance department. It would allocate more than $4 million in ARPA funds to help Omaha hotels that suffered “tremendous loss” due to the pandemic.