scp-photo

NM Senators Heinrich and Luján Join Mayor Keller to Highlight Local Impact of American Rescue Plan

New funding will extend critical City programs for most vulnerable, seniors, and working families

March 16, 2021

 

In a press briefing today, Mayor Tim Keller was joined by Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján to highlight the local impact of the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Mayor Keller also gave an update on the City of Albuquerque’s response to the pandemic, including efforts to partner with re-opening businesses on new rules, additional vaccine Points of Dispensation, and more.

“When the pandemic hit, we carved our own path, using critical CARES Act funding to shore up the safety net for the most vulnerable and shifted our City organization into a strong crisis response. While other cities are celebrating just making it through, thanks to the funding Senators Heinrich and Lujan fought for we are prepared to recover strong,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “This additional round of funding will not only help us along the path to recovery, but will make sure we can extend critical programs to support Burqueños who need it the most.”

The first round of funding Albuquerque received under the CARES Act helped the City created a support system for vulnerable members of our community, families, and businesses. With this new $113.5 million in the ARP, the City will extend support for many existing efforts, including senior meals, childcare for essential workers, and more.

“This is really the beginning of the end of this pandemic, both from a health point of view, and from an economic point of view,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich. “The American Rescue Plan delivers critical support to state, local governments and Tribal communities that have all taken on water in the midst of this pandemic. I’m excited to say that there will be another $114 million of revenue replacement directly to the City of Albuquerque. We are supercharging the distribution of vaccines nationwide--including through the VA Health Administration and the Indian Health Service. And we are making sure New Mexico's local restaurants, small businesses, workers, and families have the economic support they need to get back on their feet.”

“The American Rescue Plan includes significant investments to put vaccine shots in the arms of New Mexicans and expands both testing and contact tracing,” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján. “It makes strong investments in hospitals and community health clinics. It even makes healthcare coverage more affordable by providing larger support for middle- and low-income families. That’s not received a lot of attention, but it’s going to making a difference in peoples’ lives. The American Rescue Plan also puts money into the pockets of New Mexicans to recover from this economic crisis.”

 

ARP also includes extensive funding that will benefit Burqueños without flowing directly through the City. Much of this funding dovetails with work the City has done in the past year to support the community through crisis and build for recovery:

 

  • The City helped restaurants get by with outdoor dining grants and fee waivers; ARP grants direct funding to restaurants and live venues to help them re-open.
  • The City stepped up for families by providing youth programming and distance learning the past year; ARP will help parents afford childcare and fund re-opening of schools.
  • The City continues to support vaccination efforts with PODs and distribute PPE to small businesses; ARP will ensure availability of doses and PPE supply for faster, wider distributions.
  • In response to a growing need, the City expanded shelter opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and expanded rent and utility assistance; ARP funds extend programs that will go even further to keep families off the streets and help homeowners struggling to keep up with payments.
  • The City kept buses running for working people who need to get to work, the doctor and the grocery store; ARP will send millions in funding to Albuquerque so we can keep those systems running and avoid layoffs.
  • The City delivered nearly 750,000 meals to seniors and conducted thousands of welfare checks; ARP funds senior nutrition programs, extending their reach and duration.

Other measures in ARP which will be felt deeply in Albuquerque include the extension of unemployment benefits at an extra $300 a week, the expansion of Child and Earned Income Tax Credits from $2,000 to $3,000—potentially cutting child poverty in half, the premium assistance and Medicaid expansions, the funding in support of victims of domestic violence, the $20 billion in funding for Tribal Governments, and of course, the $1,400 direct payments and $1,400 payments per child.

In addition to highlighting how the City will continue to support residents through the recovery, Mayor Keller also gave an update on the City’s COVID response. He noted that although Albuquerque remains yellow under the NM Department of Health’s COVID re-opening framework, we are still trending in the right direction. Vaccinations remain a critical part of getting to the next phase and the City’s Emergency Operations Center has supported 31 points of dispensation (PODS) that have administered 10,424 doses and has 13 more PODS scheduled before April 2 that will administer approximately 6,800 more doses. Enforcement efforts have centered around clarifying rules and working with local businesses to be in compliance as they re-open, especially entertainment venues, which have seen an increase in reporting calls.

“Our efforts as a community are paying off. More activities and safe, small gatherings are within reach for Albuquerque as more and more of us get vaccinated and continue to follow safe practices,” said Mayor Keller.

View the PowerPoint slides from today's presentation


Emergencies challenge the delivery and management of emergency public information, warning and emergency protective action notifications. The Albuquerque Joint Information Center (JIC) functions as a coordinated Albuquerque Metro Area public information system that will gather and analyze data related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in New Mexico and serve as a source of accurate and comprehensive information.