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File #: 2021-1197   
Type: Regular Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 10/13/2021 In control: Human Services
On agenda: 11/2/2021 Final action:
Title: 10:45 A.M. Presentation of Community ARPA Funding Process and Outcomes
Department or Agency Name(s): Human Services, Office of Equity, Economic Development Board, County Administrator
Attachments: 1. Summary Report, 2. Att 1 - Presentation PPT, 3. Att 2 - Town Hall Presentation - Eng-Spn, 4. Att 3 - Dr. Eyler's Presentation, 5. Att 4 - Dr. Eyler's EFA Rpt - ENGLISH, 6. Att 5 - Dr. Eyler's EFA Rpt - SPANISH, 7. Att 6 -Orozco BIPOC Business Owners in Sonoma County, 8. Att 7 - Orozco_BIPOC Businesses_White Paper, 9. Att 8 - Orozco_BIPOC Businesses_White Paper - SPANISH
Date Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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To: County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors

Department or Agency Name(s): Human Services Department, Office of Equity, Economic Development Board, County Administrator’s Office

Staff Name and Phone Number: Angela Struckmann, 565‐6990; Alegría De La Cruz, 565‐8980; Sheba Person‐Whitley 565‐7170; Sheryl Bratton, 565‐3778

Vote Requirement: Majority

Supervisorial District(s): Countywide

 

Title:

Title

10:45 A.M. Presentation of Community ARPA Funding Process and Outcomes

End

 

Recommended Action:

Recommended action

A)                     Receive ARPA Funding Plan implementation update and provide direction to staff for December 14 meeting.

B)                     Receive presentations and reports on COVID-19 economic impact from Dr. Rob Eyler and Dr. Marlene Orozco.

C)                     Authorize the Director of the Human Services Department to execute a contract with the selected winner of the Request for Proposals for Enterprise Resource Planning System to support compliance with American Rescue Plan Act-Funded County Programs. Costs will be paid using ARPA funds and are estimated not to exceed $100,000 per year.

end

 

Executive Summary:

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law on March 11, 2021, with an Interim Rule published on May 17, 2021 <<https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-17/pdf/2021-10283.pdf>>, provides federal resources to local governments to “change the course of the pandemic and deliver immediate relief for American workers, (see <<https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/American-Rescue-Plan-Fact-Sheet.pdf>> ).” Funding objectives are to: support urgent COVID‐19 response efforts; replace lost revenue for eligible local governments to support vital public services and help retain jobs; support immediate economic stabilization for households and business; and address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic.

 

The federal government allocated $96 million directly to the County of Sonoma, not including cities, tribes, or other jurisdictions. Consistent with eligible use of funds, during FY 2021‐22 budget hearings the adopted budget includes $19.5 million from the ARPA allocation to finance a portion of the FY 21‐22 estimated $48 million in COVID‐19 response expenditures from the Department of Health Services and other County agencies. The FY 2021-22 adopted budget included 2.0 positions for the Human Services Department, to use the Upstream Platform and the Results‐Based‐Accountability (RBA) system to evaluate community grants issued with ARPA funds. Additionally, on July 27, the Board approved 2.0 positions for the Office of Equity to aid in ARPA implementation.  There is approximately $76 million remaining to allocate to address community and County needs to support a just and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Today’s report seeks to update the Board on the ARPA funding plan, community engagement efforts, preliminary data from the community feedback, and to seek further direction from the Board. In addition, the County issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERPS): “American Rescue Plan Act-Funded and Other County Programs” on October 21, 2021. As detailed in the September 14, 2021 Board Item, a team of staff from Human Services, Auditor Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector and the County Administrator’s Office worked together on the issuance of this RPF to solicit proposals for a third-party software platform to ensure reporting compliance with ARPA and substantially reduce internal staff time to manage community grant applications. Because of the urgent nature of putting the ERPS system in place prior to the community grant award process, HSD as the lead author of the RFP, requests authority to execute the resulting contract immediately following the completion of the process, estimated to be December 20, 2021.

 

Discussion:

Overview of the ARPA

 

The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021, in response to the COVID‐19 epidemic. The Act provides resources to local governments to combat COVID‐19 and its ongoing effects on the country, its people, and its economy. As part of this package the County of Sonoma will receive $96,018,973. Half of this funding was received in May 2021, and the other half will be delivered in the spring of 2022. All funding must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and spent by December 31, 2026.

 

Under the legislation, funding can be used in five areas:

1) Support ongoing public health response to COVID‐19

2) Address negative economic impacts of the pandemic

3) Replace public sector revenue loss

4) Provide premium pay for essential workers

5) Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

 

Based on the Treasury Department’s preliminary guidelines, the County does not expect to apply the revenue loss category to any funding requests. Because the guidelines call for a single calculation for the entire entity, and do not allow for exclusions of one‐time or special purpose revenues, the receipt of PG&E settlement funds in 2020 cancels out the significant revenue loss the County would have otherwise recorded. This does not impact the total ARPA allocation for the County, but it does limit the potential uses of the funds to the other remaining four categories. Should the guidelines change, the County will make appropriate adjustments to the designation of the funding.

 

At the June 15, 2021, Budget Hearings, staff presented a plan to distribute funding under three primary pillars:

1) Funding for COVID‐19 response

2) Funding for departmental projects

3) Funding directly to the community

 

Funding for COVID‐19 response totaling $19.5 million is included in the FY 2021‐22 adopted budget. This funding will ensure that the County has the resources it needs in order to continue to respond to the pandemic, including the long-term impacts of the pandemic on our community. The COVID 19 situation continues to evolve. As such, need for COVID 19 response will be reevaluated in December and the original $19.5 million allocation may need to be adjusted.

 

Staff from the County Administrator’s Office and the Office of Equity evaluated departmental proposals. These recommendations <https://sonoma-county.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5126710&GUID=F3967CD0-540C-4CCD-BFCF-0A566F6C1F08> were presented to the Board on September 14 with a request that the Board select proposals to move forward for further development. It was anticipated that the final funding determination was to be made at the December 14, 2021, Board Meeting. However, the Board determined that they would not prioritize any departmental proposals until community feedback had been received and considered on funding priorities.

 

The third pillar of funding allocated directly to the community is being managed by HSD Upstream Investments, the Office of Equity, and the Economic Development Board. In order to ensure broad community input, especially from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) who have disproportionately been impacted by COVID-19, the departments convened a series of Town Halls in each supervisorial district, distributed community input survey and community-based organization surveys, and convened and worked with the ARPA Equity Work Group to inform the ARPA funding priorities.

 

Community Input & Data Collection

 

Town Halls

 

In an effort to solicit feedback from the larger community on priority areas for ARPA funding, Upstream Investments, the Office of Equity, and the Economic Development Board planned and hosted five virtual Town Hall meetings in partnership with each Sonoma County Supervisor. Each Town Hall included a data-rich presentation of the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on Sonoma County’s health, businesses, and community wellbeing, as well as smaller staff-facilitated breakout sessions with questions posed for discussion with staff and among community members around the particular experiences and resulting ideas or recommendations for County prioritization.  All of the Town Halls had a Spanish translation channel and bilingual staff convened and facilitated breakouts in Spanish.

 

-                     Outreach for the Town Hall meetings included: 

-                     Posting on the ARPA website

-                     Posting on public online calendars

-                     Sharing information through Upstream Investments’ mailing list, all of the Upstream committees, as well as other mailing listservs, totaling over 700 emails sent

-                     Sharing information through Health Action’s mailing list and committees, which includes approximately 340 individuals representing dozens of community organizations

-                     Sharing information through 8 Health Action Chapters in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Windsor, the Russian River Area, Sebastopol, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, and Sonoma, with mailing lists between 45-250 members each

-                     Disseminating promotional materials and information to District Directors for distribution to their mailing lists

-                     Providing County Public Information Officers promotional materials

-                     Emailing all the Department Heads with outreach material

-                     Sharing through social media and newsletters by Office of Equity and EDB

-                     Sharing information with the ARPA Equity Work Group and asking that they share with their networks

-                     Conducting direct outreach to organizations, such as Daily Acts and The Botanical Bus, with the ask that they share with their constituents

-                     Posting to Human Services Department Instagram

-                     Posting to Upstream Investments Facebook Page, 5 posts reached over 3,480 people

 

Town Halls were hosted on the following dates:

-                     District 1, Supervisor Gorin: October 4, 2021

-                     District 2, Supervisor Rabbitt: October 13, 2021

-                     District 3, Supervisor Coursey: September 23, 2021

-                     District 4, Supervisor Gore, October 20, 2021

-                     District 5, Supervisor Hopkins, October 7, 2021

 

While Town Halls were hosted in partnership with County Supervisors, community members were encouraged to attend any meeting that worked with their schedule. Town Hall attendance reflected participants from across the county and a select number of people attended multiple Town Halls. The District 4 Town Hall had not yet occurred at the time of this writing, but the analysis from that meeting will be included to help determine final funding priorities for December 14. Across the meetings in districts one, two, three and five there were a total of 185 unique participants.

 

Led by district supervisors and county staff, Town Hall meetings included a brief overview of disparities in Sonoma County followed by facilitated breakout sessions. An example of the multi-departmental PowerPoint presentation is attached here as Attachment 2.  In breakout sessions, participants answered and discussed questions related to disparities in Sonoma County and their personal experience of challenges as well as successes related to service provision during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has not impacted our community members equally, and our Black, Indigenous, People of Color and Immigrant and Undocumented residents have disproportionately felt the challenges. The meetings were designed to allow these facts to be named and to allow for a diversity of voices to be heard.

 

Notes from breakout sessions were analyzed for common themes that can be used to inform how the county prioritizes ARPA fund distribution. Consistently across Town Hall meetings the following needs arose as priorities for participants:

 

-                     Need to support a living wage in Sonoma County that includes paid sick leave and health care benefits.

-                     Need to create financial support systems for families and individuals that do not qualify for federal and state aid including fair and equitable employment processes and housing opportunities.

-                     Less restrictive direct cash aid to individuals and families directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 was and continues to be the most beneficial support for basic needs.

-                     Lack of affordable childcare facilities impacted everyone, and disproportionately impacted low-income families with non-standard work schedules. The single greatest need for returning to work cited by participants was affordable childcare for children 0 - 12 years old.

-                     Mental health was a concern across populations, but was cited as especially significant for LatinX, Black and school age children (kindergarten - high school).

-                     Also significant was the need to focus on training and ongoing educational opportunities for high school students who were impacted by learning loss during and after 2020.

-                     Finally, across Town Halls and participants, promotores or community health worker outreach, navigation, and advocacy programs were identified as a successful strategy to support disproportionately impacted communities to access resources.

 

Community Input Survey

 

In addition to the Town Halls, staff emailed a Community Input Survey to everyone who registered for a Town Hall. Staff shared the link in the chat section of the last three Town Hall meetings, and made the Survey accessible to the public on the Sonoma County ARPA webpage until October 24. The Survey allowed respondents to choose their top three funding priorities from a list of 15 choices from categories eligible for ARPA funding. The survey was available in English and Spanish. The survey was still open at the due date for this board item, and therefore the results are not available. The data will be used to inform the funding priorities to be presented at the December 14th meeting.

 

While the results of the Community Input Survey will be useful, it is also important to note its limitations. The results will not be a representative sample of the population in Sonoma County. To be representative, the survey would have been completed by a subset of the population that reflects the demographics and characteristics of Sonoma County residents. This was not possible for this survey due to limitations in funding and time constraints. Because the survey was only available online via Survey Monkey, only those with access to the internet and the technology to utilize the internet could participate. These considerations will be evaluated when determining how much these data will influence the final funding priorities.

 

Community-Based Organization Survey

 

In addition to community input, a survey was sent to Community Based Organizations soliciting feedback. This survey contained the same questions as the Community Input Survey, as well as questions related to proposal ideas, potential for collaboration with partners including county departments, estimated funding needs, and additional questions related to how organizations are currently collecting and using demographic data. This survey opened on October 12 and closed on October 20. Data from this survey is not yet available at the time of this writing. Results will be shared during the December 14 meeting. HSD staff shared this survey with all County-contracted organizations, through the Upstream Investments and Health Action mailing lists, sent to EDB and Office of Equity to share, and the corresponding email with the survey encouraged recipients to share within their own networks.

 

In addition to the Town Halls and surveys, Department leadership has held one-on-one meetings with groups and organizations to discuss the ARPA process and to hear from organization about the areas where they think should be invested in. Some of these organizations include Becoming Independent, the CTE foundation, Los Cien, and the group of promotoras currently convened by the Department of Health Services. 

Overview & Opportunities to Incorporate Equity into the Design

 

In May, 2020, in response to epidemiological data from the Department of Health Services (DHS) that showed a dramatically disproportionate rate of COVID‐19 infection in the Latinx and indigenous language‐speaking communities, combined with existing and known structural inequities that created a higher risk for COVID‐19 infection and resulting economic and health impacts, DHS established the Latinx Health Work Group to ensure that the County’s COVID‐19 response to this racialized spike was supported by the wisdom of lived experience and connection to communities being disproportionately harmed. This group, now the Equity Health Work Group, has grown, morphed, and flexed itself to the changing needs of disproportionately impacted communities of color during the pandemic.

 

Equity Design

 

The effort resulted in an “Equity Design” process. The process centers impacted communities in the planning and implementation work of culturally responsive disaster response ‐ has identified the need for bilingual and bicultural staff, created new messages, new partnerships, new collaborations, and new connections between community-based organizations, the communities they serve, and County staff, including the creation of the CURA (COVID‐19 Urgent Response and Aid) Project.

 

The Latinx (now Equity) Health Work Group provides a powerful example of the productive work that deep community engagement can provide, including significant improvements to the County’s ability to provide culturally responsive information and services to disproportionately burdened community members. Importantly, these services and resources also benefit our County’s economic health and well‐being, as many of the most impacted community members include a great majority of the County’s essential worker population. Some of the challenges experienced by staff and community members serving in that capacity also help to clarify ways to change, strengthen, and to ensure that we continue to improve our efforts.

 

The Economic Development Board’s (EDB) disbursement of $2.3 million in emergency stabilization funding to Sonoma County businesses also demonstrates the power of an equity‐focused program design and delivery. By utilizing equity‐based principles and available data about the disproportionality in impact and lack of access to federal resources, EDB set up five remote service centers to provide technical assistance and overcome access challenges, with targeted outreach created in two languages. Additionally, EDB included equity and access priorities into the contract with the grant administrator. As a result, the program achieved the following results:

 

1) 48% of grant recipients identified as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)

2) 24% of grant recipients identified as of Hispanic or Latino origin

3) 58% of grant recipients identified as Female

4) 81% of grant recipients qualified as Extremely Low to Moderate income

 

The review and analysis of Health Department epidemiologic data (contained here <https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/1edbb41952a8417385652279305e878d/page/page_29/> ) continues to demonstrate an outsized impact on communities of color, even as the pandemic wanes. At the outset, it was clear that the Latinx and indigenous language‐speaking populations were experiencing the greatest disproportionate burdens due to COVID‐19. However, new epidemiological data (also available above) illuminates a path towards the inclusion of more underrepresented and underserved communities of color in the County’s work to respond more effectively to specific impacted communities. For example, Sonoma County Black and Pacific Islander communities are experiencing disproportionality in new COVID‐19 cases, and has spurred DHS and the Office of Equity to expand their initial efforts to include impacted community members in planning and implementation of vaccination outreach and delivery efforts.

 

ARPA Equity Work Group

 

To support the ARPA Implementation Plan, on July 27, the Office of Equity proposed, and your Board approved, the use of an equity design process that builds on the best practices of the Latinx (now Equity) Health Work Group through the creation of an ARPA Equity Work Group. This Group has worked to develop community priorities and areas of focus and plans to operationalize those priorities through the RFP/funding process for community investments.

 

The process for creating the membership of the ARPA Equity Work Group included a short application for the applicant to complete, a letter of recommendation from a community member or community‐based organization, and an interview with a multi‐departmental panel of Equity Core Team members, and staff and leadership from a number of County departments.

 

The ARPA Equity Work Group was finalized during the month of September and is comprised of 14 members <https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/ARPA/County-of-Sonoma-ARPA-Community-Work-Group/> representing different communities who have been impacted by COVID-19, BIPOC, LGBTQI, and houselessness, inter alia. The ARPA Community Workgroup supports the equitable distribution of ARPA funds by elevating the experiences and needs of the low-income communities and communities of color most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The workgroup is currently working with County staff and Equity & Results LLC, a consulting firm, to establish priorities, metrics and accountability measures using Results-Based Accountability for the use of ARPA funds towards the recovery of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as low income communities; create effective community partnerships rooted in racial equity to ensure broad access to ARPA funds; and ensure ARPA planning aligns with the County’s Racial Equity and Social Justice pillar.

 

The ARPA Equity Work Group engagement was also supplemented by targeted focus group meetings with community health workers convened by DHS, Town Halls held in each supervisorial district in the county, as well as a review and analysis of recent community feedback and public comment. This combination of community engagement strategies recognizes the ongoing work that our community partners have undertaken throughout the pandemic, and will ensure that the funding criteria and investments reflect community needs.

 

At this point, the ARPA Equity Work Group has reviewed and validated available data, including industry and occupation‐level data from EDB through their consultants, Dr. Robert Eyler and Dr. Marlene Orozco, that demonstrates areas of ongoing need for economic and workforce recovery that present opportunities for investment. Concurrently, the Office of Equity and the Human Services Department’s work on the update to the Portrait of Sonoma has allowed for the Work Group to look at some preliminary data prior to the release of the report.

 

The updated Portrait of Sonoma County will not be publicly available until November 18, 2021. The Portrait of Sonoma County uses the Human Development Index to highlight disparities across education, income and health indicators. In addition, the updated report will also be informed by and respond to the numerous crises that have struck our County since 2017, all of which have disproportionately harmed low-income BIPOC communities. New sources of data will be used to augment our traditional sources with a view to capturing the effects of these crises in real time and this information will inform ARPA investment strategies.

 

The ARPA Work Group has worked to review the available data and to conduct a root cause analysis of the disproportionate outcomes for communities of color, in order to reach recommendations that address the root causes and to facilitate consensus in the recommendations. A sampling of those initial or preliminary recommendations include: 

 

- Technical Assistance: including providing technical assistance to small, BIPOC led or focused non-profits or other informal community based organizations in disproportionately impacted areas to increase capacity and connectivity to County funding; providing targeted support to BIPOC-owned businesses to assist with connection to resources and enhanced compliance; incentivizing older, established nonprofits to work with and in support of smaller, informal, and culturally responsive  community based organizations; providing or supporting leadership training in underrepresented or underserved communities; and

 

-Targeted Resource Allocation: including keeping smaller, BIPOC-led or focused community groups funded during non-emergent times to ensure surge capacity during disasters; resourcing area-specific organic community-led efforts (like Comida Para Todos, etc.), resourcing community organizations who provide wrap-around or holistic support to clients/patients or who engage in deep collaboration with partners to ensure no one falls through the cracks; and

 

- Investments in Internal and External County Infrastructure: including creating community hubs for smaller and informal community efforts (like Roseland CBI, Just Recovery Promotora Partnership, e.g.); increasing cultural responsiveness of County staff by recruiting, hiring, and promoting bilingual, bicultural and Black, Indigenous, People of Color; developing, implementing, and training County departments and community partners on humanizing demographic data collection, analysis, tracking, and performance measurements; increasing accountability mechanisms for creating a community engagement plan at the County of Sonoma; including community engagement responsibilities in relevant County job descriptions; and increased and targeted outreach efforts to community based organizations when a new Request for Proposals is released); among others.

 

The ARPA Equity Work Group will meet again after this item is published to continue its work to refine and organize their recommendations to your Board, as well as to create performance metrics to ensure accountability to disproportionately impacted communities of color. Those refined recommendations and performance metrics will come back for final approval at the next update to this process at the December 14, 2021 Board meeting.

 

Enterprise Resource Planning System

 

On October 21st, the County of Sonoma released a request for proposals for an Enterprise Resource Planning System. The purpose of this system is to collect, manage and analyze financial data from the County Departments and Community-Based Organizations to ensure the County will meet the ARPA reporting requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Interim Final Rule for Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF).  The submission deadline is November 16th and the services are projected to begin January 1, 2022. With Board action today, the Director of the Human Services Department will be authorized to execute a contract with the selected winner of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERPS).  Staff will include final costs in the ARPA budget discussion for the December 14 meeting.  Initial estimates are that up to $100,000 per year may be needed for the system.

 

Next Steps

On December 14, the Board will meet to determine funding allocations for selected County department-lead projects and for key areas of need within our community groups who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As dictated by ARPA, the Board and the Public will receive regular updates on the funding through the duration of the grants. The key areas of need for direct funding to the community will be informed by the additional data sets mentioned above: Portrait of Sonoma County; the areas for prioritization identified by the ARPA Community Workgroup; updated Community Input Survey results, emailed feedback and updated qualitative theme data after the District 4 Town Hall; ARPA community-based organization survey; funding priorities for cities, school districts, and other ARPA entities; and sorting the department proposals into funding areas for prioritization.

 

Strategic Plan:

This item directly support the County’s Five-year Strategic Plan and is aligned with the following pillar, goal, and objective.

 

Pillar: Healthy and Safe Communities

Goal: Goal 1: Expand integrated system of care to address gaps in services to the County’s most vulnerable.

Objective: Objective 2: Identify gaps in the Safety Net system of services and identify areas where departments can address those gaps directly, and seek guidance from the Board when additional resources and/or policy direction is needed.

 

Prior Board Actions:

Adopted Resolution adjusting the FY 2021‐22 Office of Equity staffing allocation effective July 27, 2021 to add two time‐limited Department Analyst term limited positions.

 

Fiscal Summary

 Expenditures

FY 21-22 Adopted

FY22-23 Projected

FY 23-24 Projected

Budgeted Expenses

 

 

 

Additional Appropriation Requested

 

$100,000

$100,000

Total Expenditures

$50,000

$100,000

$100,000

Funding Sources

 

 

 

General Fund/WA GF

 

 

 

State/Federal

$50,000

$100,000

$100,000

Fees/Other

 

 

 

Use of Fund Balance

 

 

 

Contingencies

 

 

 

Total Sources

$50,000

$100,000

$100,000

 

Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

The cost of the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERPS): American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)-Funded and Other County Programs has is estimated at $100,000 per year. Staff will include final costs in the ARPA funding determination discussion.

 

Staffing Impacts:

 

 

 

Position Title (Payroll Classification)

Monthly Salary Range (A-I Step)

Additions (Number)

Deletions (Number)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):

N/A

 

Attachments:

Att 1 - Main Presentation

Att 2 - D4 Town Hall Health Updates

Att 3 - Dr. Eyler’s Presentation

Att 4 - Dr. Eyler’s EFA Report - English

Att 5 - Dr. Eyler’s EFA Report - Spanish

Att 6 - Dr. Orozco’s Presentation - BIPOC Business Owners in Sonoma County

Att 7 - Dr. Orozco’s BIPOC Business White Paper - English

Att 8 - Dr. Orozco’s BIPOC Business White Paper - Spanish

 

Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board:

None