“This is not the moment we should be holding back”: Community provides passionate input on influx of federal funding

Nathaniel Rosenberg, Contributing Reporter

Many New Haven residents want more affordable housing, better childcare, and a stronger effort to combat climate change in the Elm City. Many see $53 million of incoming federal aid as the chance to begin those investments.

The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package passed in March 2021, allocated approximately $115.8 million to New Haven. The current $53 million is from the Mayor’s Phase 3 disbursement of the money, and is allocated to seven priorities: $10 million for youth engagement, $10 million for affordable housing, $10 million for wealth creation, $8 million for vocational and technical education, $5 million for the climate emergency, $6 million for public health and infrastructure and $4 million of seed money for the establishment of a New Haven Land Bank.

A hearing held by the Board of Alders Finance Committee last Monday to discuss the funds drew over two dozen people testifying, in front of an audience of more than 100, including at least 17 alders. The room frequently broke into applause after moving testimony, and various protestors stood in the back of the room, imploring the committee to invest money into fighting climate change and assisting immigrant communities.

The proceedings opened with a presentation by representatives from the mayor’s office, including ​​Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscitelli, who touted the City’s community engagement process for their Phase 3 funding plan, particularly focusing on the Civic Space community meetings that were held during the summer of 2021.

“There are many challenges involved, not least related to income inequity, the unfair and disproportionate impact that some of our neighbors have felt through the pandemic relative to other parts of the state or…

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