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American Rescue Plan - Local Funding

Through the American Rescue Plan, the federal government provided funds for rural communities. Now we need local government to fund the programs our communities need.

Rural America has seen decades of destructive economic decline, often driven by federal and state policy priorities that have widened disparities. To improve the lives of residents, we must substantially increase federal grants to pay for infrastructure, public services, job creation, housing, small business development, conserving natural resources, and improving health care. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), championed by President Joe Biden and passed by Congressional Democrats, invests $1.9 trillion in the American people.

Direct Assistance to Local Municipalities

One unique feature of ARP is direct assistance to local municipalities. ARP will deliver $350 billion for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments. You can view allocations on the Treasury website.

This is a unique opportunity for local, rural governments to spend funds with a high degree of flexibility to meet local needs. Progressive organizations have an essential role in creating positive outcomes.

Rural Program Priorities

What are the top funding priorities for your community? This is a one-time infusion of funds so consider how your community can use these funds to provide emergency relief to struggling residents and/or launch new programs that will transform communities.

In 2020, rural advocates from across the country united around common values and shared challenges to produce The Rural Policy Action Report. The report outlines the most significant and urgent challenges facing rural people today along with specific policy solutions. There are many overlaps between the eligible uses for the ARP Direct Assistance Funds and the Rural Policy Action Report. You can use the report as a starting point to identify potential projects.


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Direct Assistance Eligible Uses

The following are the eligible uses for ARP assistance to local municipalities.

  1. Support public health expenditures, by, for example, funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff
    1. This includes addressing systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic
  2. Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector
    1. This includes direct assistance payments to households and businesses, providing services to disproportionately impacted communities, and creating a public jobs program
    2. This includes immediate economic stabilization for households and businesses
  3. Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors
    1. The Rural Policy Report identifies essential benefits as a key priority.
  4. Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and expand access to broadband internet
    1. The Rural Policy Report identifies investing in infrastructure as a key policy priority.
  5. Replace lost revenue for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to strengthen support for vital public services and help retain jobs

Additional Eligibility Resources

  1. Treasury Guidance, July 19
  2. Treasury Guidance, June 24
  3. Treasury Guidance, June 17
  4. Treasury Guidance on Recovery Funds
  5. Local Progress ARP Guide 
  6. NACO Guidance
  7. NACO Rural County ARPA examples
  8. NYSAC Resource List for ARP
  9. Using the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to Address the Care Crisis
  10. Policy Link Racial Equity Priorities
  11. Presentation and Slides, September 23
  12. Call your County Commissioner Guide
  13. Vera: Equitable Recovery
  14. US EDA Resources


The US Treasury will distribute funds directly to each eligible state, territory, metropolitan city, county, or Tribal government. Smaller local governments that are classified as non-entitlement units will receive funds through their applicable state government.


ARP Direct Assistance funds are allowed to cover costs from March 3, 2021 to December 31, 2024. 

Connect with RDI

How is your local government using ARP funds to help rural residents? Is your organization advocating for a specific program or have a creative engagement strategy. Contact us and share how your working to engage rural people.