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On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 (H.R. 1319) into law. The American Rescue Plan delivered $350 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and its effects. Cleveland County has been granted a total of $55 million through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), an economic stimulus federal program designed to speed up the country's recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional apportionments were made to municipalities including Oklahoma City, Norman and Moore. Like the county, municipal governments will receive funds in two portions, with 50 percent provided in May 2021 and the balance delivered approximately 12 months later. The state also received their own allotment from ARPA funds.
All ARPA funds must be used for costs incurred by the recipient during the period that began on March 3, 2021 and ends on Dec. 31, 2024.
This funding was distributed to counties in two waves. The first was May 2021 and the second half was distributed in May 2022. Commissioners voted on a plan to allocate these dollars in August 2022, and distribution began in October 2022.
All ARPA funding must be obligated by the end of calendar year (CY) 2024 and spent by the end of CY 2026. Any funds not used must be returned to US Treasury.
The ARPA funds provide eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments with resources to meet pandemic response needs and rebuild the economy as the country recovers. Recipients may use these funds based on Treasury guidelines which include:
Within these overall categories, recipients have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their communities. For more information see: https://tinyurl.com/b2tbk47p
From the beginning, Cleveland County Commissioners are committed to the creation of a practical and effective Recovery Plan for the Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds, where dollars are truly tied to the needs of the community. The county conducted a needs assessment of the impacts the pandemic has had in Cleveland County, including input from many diverse communities and stakeholders across Cleveland County, to determine a prioritized list of projects centered around the overriding three goals of the Recovery Plan.
From the initial community feedback, the county has created the Cleveland County COVID RECOVERY PLAN, outlining three main goals which will serve as the guide for the use of funds.
Within the plan are four funding priorities:
The county will continue meeting with residents, community organizations, and businesses and update this plan accordingly.
Cleveland County is the most diverse of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, bringing together a broad mix of urban and rural geography, stakeholders and risks. It is our proven culture of collaboration that makes Cleveland County special, and we are proud to use ARPA dollars to fortify those connections.
Cleveland County covers more than 500 square miles and a steadily growing population of close to 300,000 people (2020 census), making it the third most populous county in Oklahoma.
The county seat is Norman — home of the University of Oklahoma, the National Weather Center and numerous government facilities. While the majority of the county’s population is located in Norman, Moore or South OKC, there are also small towns and rural areas for whom the county provides services.
There is a great mixture of communities located within Cleveland County — a combination of rural areas and suburban neighborhoods; high wealth zip codes, and swaths of Qualified Census Tracts; large government employers and small mom-and-pop businesses.
This diversity in population and demographics makes Cleveland County a wonderful and interesting place to live, but also makes it difficult to use a “one size fits all” approach to recovery funding.
While residents of Cleveland County have an admirable work ethic showing a large employment increase in 2021 according to Bureau of Labor statistics, those wages fall behind the National Average and below Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. Cleveland County’s average weekly wage declined (-1.8 percent) the second quarter of 2021.
From the beginning, Cleveland County Commissioners have remained steadfastly committed to the creation of a practical and effective Recovery Plan for the Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery investment, where dollars are truly tied to the needs of the community.
Cleveland County hosted a series of stakeholder engagement meetings to identify needs and to assess the impact of the pandemic on our communities. To that end, Cleveland County:
The county also made a community feedback submission form available online.
This form was open to the public and was promoted through the local newspaper, social media, the county website and through emails to stakeholder groups throughout the county, as well as at stakeholder meetings.
The purpose of the form was to identify ways in which individuals and families across the county were affected by the pandemic. This feedback form asked how respondents were affected, if they sought assistance, and what priorities the county might focus on to recover.
Cleveland County’s nonprofit community is a key stakeholder in promoting an equitable recovery, as they are on the front lines serving residents in need across the entire county.
This robust network works together to provide services to disproportionately impacted populations in the county, filling service needs including behavioral health, food insecurity, substance abuse, and housing insecurity.
As Cleveland County leaders outlined continuing needs in the community as part of their recovery planning, they asked this sophisticated network of charitable organizations to share their lessons learned from the pandemic.
The Cleveland County Recovery Plan will continue to evolve with flexibility to respond to immediate needs while targeting longer term recovery strategies consistent with the three overarching goals. Updates to the plan will be made as funding priorities are developed and will be updated on the county website.
This Recovery Plan will be updated annually, while the project inventory and measurements will be updated more frequently.
The Recovery Plan is a working document that will continue to provide transparency as Cleveland County moves through planning and implementation of its ARPA projects, consistent with federal and state guidelines.
Our contracted administrator, Community Cares Partners has the following update as of September 1, 2022:
The Community Cares Partners application portal for rental assistance is now closed.
Submitted applications will be reviewed and processed until all program funds have been spent. We expect to meet or exceed the amount of funding we have left. If you have applied, please check your email and spam folders for communication from our teams. If you do not respond to an inquiry for information, your application will be closed and we will not re-open it.
If you did not get to apply and need help, please call 2-1-1 for available resources in your area.
If you have access to the internet and a printer, visit www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/military-personnel and follow the simple steps.
If you prefer the old fashioned way we will fill out an SF-180 and mail it to the appropriate location. Most veteran service clubs, the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, or Mark can assist you in this.
We are fortunate to have local service and volunteer organizations in our area that are trained in assisting veterans in determining their eligibility and applying for benefits that they have earned.
Visit these websites to learn more.
American Legion- Post 88Dalek Graham Veterans FoundationVeterans Corner Oklahoma
Please call the ODVA representative at the VA in Muskogee at 888.655.2838. They will confirm the veterans 100% rating and mail the embossed letter that the County Assessor’s Office will need.
The VA offers a varied list of potential benefits. Visit their site for a complete overview of the benefits possibly available to you.
The VA website
Be sure to select the veteran ID card and not the DOD card. The site lists all of the steps and documents that you will need.