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Majority of Honolulu's ARPA funds will go towards economic recovery for underserved communities

Illustration Works/Corbis
Illustration Works/Corbis

The City and County of Honolulu will distribute nearly $400 million to Oʻahu communities through the American Rescue Plan Act.

About $156 million — the largest portion — will go to support economic recovery. This includes expanding affordable housing and providing support to the agriculture industry.

Next, $110 million will be dedicated to community support and improving public health.

And $70 million will help modernize city operations.

The final $50 million will be invested in critical island infrastructure.

"We all recognized and observed here locally, in terms of the inequities that both surfaced and the disparities that I think we understood were out there," said Matt Gonser, the Chief Resilience Officer for the City and County of Honolulu.

"One stark example is our pre-pandemic and now growth in the ALICE population — which is those households which are asset-limited, income-constrained and employed, or below the federal poverty line," he said.

"This is just a general recognition that we can’t just fill pukas. We have an opportunity, a multi-year program, to think about these really important relief and recovery dollars," Gosner explained in front of City Councilmembers.

The county must obligate the ARPA funds by the end of 2024, and expend the money by the end of 2026.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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