After the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, the City of Rock Island was allocated $26.5 million by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

City Council members formally approved a resolution during the Oct. 10 City Council meeting adopting the City’s ARPA Plan and its funding recommendations, including assistance to local non-profit groups.  

To guide the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding to non-profit groups, focus groups have been formed to address the issues of homelessness, mental health and tourism, according to a news release. The three non-profit sectors will receive a recommended allocation of $250,000 each for a total of $750,000.

The objective of the focus groups is to determine what the gaps and unmet needs are in each respective area and identify ways in which to address these with ARPA funds. By identifying specific needs and possible solutions or programs, the focus group data will assist City Council members in deciding how ARPA dollars can be used to make long-term impacts in the community. 

The three focus groups are made up of stakeholders and professionals in their related fields and an Alderperson representative. Meetings are open to the public and Open Meetings Act guidelines will be followed, including the posting of agendas and recording of minutes.

The Homelessness Stakeholder Focus Group, led by 4th Ward Alderwoman Jenni Swanson, will meet 3-5 p.m. Friday in the Police Community Room, 1212 5th Ave., Rock Island. Members are: Ron Lund of Project NOW; Ashley Velez of Humility Homes and Services, Inc.; Tom Tarnow of Prairie State Legal Services; Michael Glanz, executive director of the ARC of the Quad Cities; Cathy Jordan, executive director of DeLaCerda House; Karrah Kuykendall of the Rock Island Public Library; Frank Roe, executive director of Christian Care; Rachel Pitchford of the Quad Cities Housing Council; and Jack Cullen, director of Downtown Rock Island for the Quad Cities Chamber.

The Mental Health Stakeholder Focus Group, led by 2nd Ward Alderman Randy Hurt, will meet 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at a location yet to be determined.

The Tourism Stakeholder Focus Group, led by 3rd Ward Alderwoman Judith Gilbert and 5th Ward Alderman Dylan Parker, will meet 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, at a location yet to be determined.