Posted September 19, 20228:30 pm
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland City Council approved spending $13.3 million in COVID-19 stimulus dollars, aimed to help survivors of domestic and child abuse, improving childcare access and more.
The largest, single expense is for Starting Point, a nonprofit childcare referral agency, to provide signing and retention bonuses to childcare workers, according to city documents.
Those entering or returning to the childcare field will receive a $100 bonus upon being hired, and a $400 bonus after 90 days on the job. Those already working in the profession will receive a $250 bonus. A second, $200 bonus payment will also be available after six months, according to city documents.
The childcare industry in Cleveland has been suffering from a lack of workers, in part because of low wages. A childcare worker in the Cleveland-Elyria metro area earns a mean salary of $26,370, which is lower than parking attendants and telemarketers in the area, cleveland.com reported previously.
The city will also spend $1.9 million on a “scholarship” program through Starting Point that would subsidize childcare for parents who are returning to work and are awaiting enrollment in publicly funded childcare, according to city documents.
The $11 million in approved spending is only a fraction of the $102.5 million in Cleveland’s recently proposed ARPA spending. The largest chunk of the city’s proposed spending, $50 million for its “housing for all” initiative, did not appear on the city’s meeting agenda, nor did other portions of the plan, such as $16.4 million to modernize City Hall, $12.5 million on economic recovery and $10.1 million on violence prevention. As of Monday morning, no other ARPA-related items were on committee agendas for the rest of the week.
Assuming city officials approve all $102.5 million in newly proposed spending, the city still has roughly $200 million in ARPA dollars left to spend. Per federal law, ARPA money must be set aside for a specific project by the last day of 2024 and must be spent by the end of 2026.
Here are the approved expenses:
- $2,668,750 for Starting Point to provide signing and retention bonuses to childcare workers
- $2.5 million for the Rape Crisis Center to respond to an increased need for services
- $2.3 million for 295 in-car dash cameras for police
- $ 1,888,750 for Starting Point to subsidize childcare for parents in need
- $1,750,000 for the Journey Center for Safety and Healing to help domestic violence survivors
- $1 million for Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to represent low-income residents facing eviction
- $500,000 for the Canopy Child Advocacy Center to respond to an increase in need for services
- $400,000 for a consultant to help the city spend ARPA dollars in compliance with federal law
- $300,000 for the “dollars for doses” program, which pays people to get the vaccine
Original story available on cleveland.com: Cleveland approves spending $13 million on abuse recovery services, legal aid, dash cameras and more