Sacramento Mayor Steinberg breaks down spending plan for $29M in COVID-19 federal relief

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night on a plan to spend around $29 million in federal funding.

The funds are the first portion of $89 million dollars granted through the CARES Act.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg told FOX40 the funding approved so far will go toward roughly 20 different initiatives, ranging from mental health to feeding vulnerable seniors.

“Make sure that these dollars respond to the immediate need,” explained Steinberg. “Because there is so much immediate need but that our investments also have a long tail.”

The largest slice of the pie is the $10 million for small businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

Steinberg said the city is working on an application process to dole out that money through grants and loans.

Priority will be given to those who have not received assistance yet, according to the mayor.

“We want to make sure that the business we help has a chance to survive beyond just the short run,” said Steinberg.

Other highlights in the funds include $5 million dollars set aside for arts organizations, $1.5 million for free internet service for families who are distant learning, $2 million for an educational program to teach struggling students over the summer and $1 million to nonprofits that help the homeless, like St. John’s Program for Real Change.

“We’ll continue to provide them mental health therapy, drug and addiction counseling. All of that couldn’t happen without the generous support of the city,” said St John’s Program for Real Change Chief Executive Officer Julie Hirota.

With $60 million dollars left to spend, Mayor Steinberg said city residents can expect a larger focus on workplace development in the next stage of approvals.

In the end, the council hopes to divide the money evenly between four major categories.

“One bucket for small business: Twenty million dollars. One bucket for workforce development and youth. One bucket for housing and homelessness: Twenty million dollars. And one bucket for tourism and the creative economy: Twenty million dollars,” explained Steinberg.

According to the CARES Act, federal funding has to be spent by the end of the year and must be used in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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