June 22, 2023
Milwaukee County ARPA Annual Recovery Plan Ranked Top 5 by Results for America Assessment
Ranked 3rd out of 93 counties across the country receiving American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
MILWAUKEE, WI – In an assessment of state and local government Recovery Plan Performance Reports conducted by Results for America (RFA), Milwaukee County ranked third amongst a group of 93 county governments receiving American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF). The rankings come as Milwaukee County’s commitment to fiscal responsibility was acknowledged by statewide leaders of both parties, including Governor Evers, as the historic local revenue reform bill moved through the legislature and was signed into law this week.
“I’m incredibly proud of our team here for making the best use of the $183 million in one-time federal recovery dollars. Instead of pouring those resources to fund ongoing services and creating even larger budget gaps down the road, we found smart ways to support the community as we transitioned from a state of emergency to a state of recovery,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “We created an ARPA taskforce which facilitated a process for evaluating projects and recommending funding for items which aligned with our vision of race and health equity. Today, 95 percent of the pandemic relief funds have been allocated with most funds going to address reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic and to respond to economic harms to workers, families, small businesses, impacted industries and the public sector.”
RFA analyzed over 200 recovery plan performance reports covering investments through July 30, 2022, with financial expenditures through December 2022. This includes SLFRF reports from all 50 states, 83 counties, and 67 cities.
RFA assessed the sum of expenditures for each project and expenditure category included in jurisdictional recover plans. RFA also identified 12 investment categories and determined if jurisdiction investments were being made in any of the categories. Investment categories cover a wide range of possible expenditures including COVID Mitigation & Prevention, Public Health, Justice & Public Safety, and Financial Security.
Finally, RFA reviewed and scored all recovery plans based on the five key best practices of the U.S. Department of Treasury, including implementing evidence-based programs, and ensuring equitable outcomes.
Out of a possible total score of 10, Milwaukee County received a total score of 9, placing it in the top 5 nationwide alongside Los Angeles County in California and Maricopa County in Arizona. In addition to overall recovery plan scores, RFA identified SLFRF funded projects of note that implement an evidence-based solution, use an impact evaluation, or enhance data and/or evidence capacity. Milwaukee County’s Right to Counsel program was highlighted as a notable project investing recovery resources into Housing and Homelessness Services.
Right to Counsel Milwaukee provides a right to free legal representation in evictions for eligible households through the lead partner organization - United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties - and the designated organization – the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee.
National data shows that individuals who have been evicted are more likely to experience homelessness and extended usage of homeless shelters, more likely to lose their jobs, and more likely to have children who become chronically absent from school after eviction occurs. The Milwaukee Eviction Defense Project data shows that 90% of eviction cases are dismissed or delayed when a tenant has legal representation, but only 3% of the 14,000 Milwaukee families facing an eviction in a typical year will have legal representation.
Milwaukee County Small Claims Court data indicates families at-risk for evictions are mostly Black and Latino residents in low-income areas. Black women, families with children, and Latino families in mostly White neighborhoods are disproportionally evicted. Citywide, Milwaukee is 38% African American, with a 25% poverty rate. The 10 neighborhoods with the highest eviction rates are 73% African American with a 40% poverty rate. Research by EvictionLab and the ACLU confirm that evicted families have worse outcomes in critical determinants, such as economic stability employment, education, physical and mental health.
Learn more about the RFA Recovery Plan Assessment here.
Learn more about Milwaukee County recovery plan and ARPA allocation process here.
Learn more about Right to Counsel Milwaukee here.