OnPoint for College, CNY Arts and Home HeadQuarters commend Common Council and Mayor on American Rescue Plan Act investments

Council also approves ARPA funding for violence intervention assessment

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said the Syracuse Common Council’s unanimous approval today of $2.1 million in pandemic relief proves how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is helping people recover from COVID-19. The package of programs will enable Syracuse school students to make the transition to college, help arts and culture organizations bounce back from the pandemic and give individuals and families direct assistance in improving their financial health.

“As the country notes the one-year anniversary of ARPA in March, this latest package of assistance is another example of how the City of Syracuse is ensuring the aid we received is helping people,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our people need ARPA help as badly now as we did one year ago. I appreciate the Common Council’s careful review of our investments. With these new investments, we will get more assistance to students aiming for a college education; the arts and culture sector; and individuals and families who are working to regain their financial footing.”

Three longstanding community agencies experienced at delivering help directly to Syracuse residents and organizations will receive funding to expand or implement programs:

  • Recruitment of City High School  Students for College  – $350,000 for OnPoint for College, the program that helps school children access higher education, to increase outreach to City of Syracuse students from lower income and communities that are historically underrepresented in higher education.
  • Arts and Culture Recovery Fund – $1.25 million to bolster non-profit arts and culture organizations and professional artists in the City of Syracuse, which are being hard hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Arts and Culture Recovery Fund will be created and managed by CNY Arts to assist arts disciplines including architecture, dance, design, music, theater, media, museum activities, visual arts, folk art and arts education.
  • Free Professional Financial Counseling for Syracuse Residents – $411,000 for the Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center to provide free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling to City of Syracuse residents. The Syracuse Department of Neighborhood and Business Development administers the program in partnership with Home HeadQuarters.

Sam Rowser, Executive Director of On Point for College, said,The COVID pandemic presents significant challenges to aspiring college students in underserved populations in our community, including limits on internet access and computer availability, difficulties securing post-secondary opportunities when campuses and offices were closed, as well as creating strains on the mental wellness of young people. On Point for College greatly appreciates that the Syracuse Common Council and the Office of the Mayor are up to meeting these challenges through their approval of pandemic relief funding for the work that On Point does in providing college and career access and success services, and we are so grateful for their support through today’s funding approval.”

Steve Butler, Executive Director of CNY Arts, said, “Arts and culture institutions in Syracuse continue to suffer under the lingering effects of COVID-19. Every dollar of lost revenue has a direct impact on local artists and on the many businesses that rely on arts and culture to prosper. The arts bring us together and help define our city and its heritage. Thank you, Mayor Walsh and Common Council, for your tremendous support for Syracuse’s amazing arts community and the creation of this program to fund arts organizations and artists impacted by the pandemic. CNY Arts is deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve by administering these funds, which will help our arts sector, build our local economy and improve quality of life for residents and visitors alike. We look forward to working with the City, its tremendous staff, and elected officials in the months ahead.”

Kerry Quaglia, Chief Executive Officer for Home HeadQuarters, said, “Every day, we see firsthand the challenges our community members are facing from the lingering impact of the pandemic including a seemingly never ending cycle of debt. The free financial counseling from trained Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center counselors is truly one of the greatest services Syracuse provides its citizens. Home HeadQuarters commends Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and the Common Council for approving pandemic relief funding to support the Syracuse FEC.”

In addition to the education, arts and financial empowerment spending, the Common Council Monday also approved $71,102 for violence intervention. Under the direction of the Office of the Mayor and the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, Tillmon Training and Consulting will conduct a Community Violence Intervention Assessment and produce a report on ways to improve city and community efforts. Tillmon is a national training and consulting firm specializing in violence interruption, mental health and assisting people in reentry after incarceration.

The City of Syracuse will receive $123 million in ARPA funding. It has already activated more than $74 million in pandemic relief spending, including investments in children, families and neighborhoods; infrastructure and public spaces; jobs and economic opportunity; and government response and resilience. More information on pandemic relief spending is available on the City’s ARPA Dashboard.

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