If you received a stimulus check from the government during COVID-19, maybe you used it on food, diapers, or to pay off some debt.
Cities were given money ($195 billion) as part of the American Rescue Plan as well, and they are using it to jump-start several projects they have had on the books for a while.
In Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the city is using stimulus money, in part, to pay for the construction of a new golf course.
In Phoenix, the money is being used to care for vulnerable populations like veterans, seniors, and refugees, among other causes.
In Cincinnati, stimulus money is being used on youth programs that work to prevent suicide among LGBTQ teens.
And in Pueblo, Colorado, $70,000 in ARPA money is being used to clean up trash off the streets to help those who experience homelessness.
“I heard about it, like I said, through outside and some people told me about it, but I figured man, it’s a great way to try to beautify the city and get out and do something with it,” said Ron, who did not want to give his last name and has been cleaning up trash for six weeks in the city.
Ron teams up with other members of his community four hours a day, four days a week. Each four-hour day nets him $50 as it provides cleaners streets and parks for his city.
“For the residents and the homeless, it gives them a little bit of money, a little bit of self-gratification. It does something for their confidence,” said Ron Navarro, who manages the project that the city has coined HOPE: Homeless Outreach Providing Employment. “I think it just does something to a person to maybe get them going where maybe they look for a steady job. They get a little bit of money and maybe I need to get off the streets and clean up a little bit.”
The program has been running for six weeks and the Pueblo Rescue Mission says it has six weeks left to go.
“Driving down the street, you know, people will honk at us and say thank you and I think that’s good for them and it makes me really feel like I’m doing something good,” said Barb Alphin, who helps coordinate the different clean-up teams. “This crew is like the best crew ever because they’re thorough. You know, they really want to get the job done and they show it.”