Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan wants a historic sum of federal money that the City will receive through the American Rescue Plan Act to be used to combat the root causes of poverty, according to City officials.
At 7 pm. Tuesday in a public Zoom event, Duggan will outline a general framework on how the City may spend $413 million. He also is asking residents whether they agree with overall priorities of what to do with funding coming from the Biden administration. Another $413 million is coming next year.
It’s the first of at least 25 community meetings the mayor’s office will hold over 25 days.
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“We’ve never seen this kind of money, ever,” Deputy Mayor Conrad Mallett said Tuesday. “We have an opportunity to transform the city and to assure its positive trajectory for at least the next 25 years.”
The big change Duggan and his administration are seeking to accomplish is to sharply reduce the number of Detroiters who live below the poverty line, Mallett said. And change may come in the form of programs aimed at improving job and educational opportunities, neighborhood and home improvements, policing and more, Mallett said.
The latest estimate is 30.6% of Detroit residents live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released last fall. Only Cleveland, at 30.8%, had a higher percentage of residents living in poverty among large cities.
Overall, Duggan will outline ideas and general “buckets” where the money should be spent, Mallett said. Those buckets include boosting neighborhood investment; improving parks, recreation and cultural assets; enhancing public safety; closing the digital gap; and supporting small businesses.
A schedule of the remaining meetings, which will be open to any resident, will be posted soon on the City’s website and will be updated as meetings are added. Meeting notices also will be distributed through the City’s email subscription lists, the Department of Neighborhoods and on City social media accounts.
After the 25 days of meetings, the Duggan administration aims to deliver its recommendations to City Council by the end of June, Mallett said. Council will have to approve how the funding will be spent.