Spotlight on the American Rescue Plan
Using funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the County of Bucks through its Division of Human Services has allocated millions to shore up key elements of the county’s mental health system and enhance community services and support.
The Human Services Division has so far awarded 21 projects grants totaling approximately $5,000,000.
To determine where to direct funding, Human Services department heads and senior county leadership assessed applications for funding submitted by community providers. The process focused on programs with the potential to do the most good for those members of our community who were hit hardest by lockdowns, economic downturn and other pandemic-related hardships.
Highlighted here are just a few of the exciting programs and projects that will be funded by ARPA grants from Bucks County.
Bucks County Opportunity Council - HELP Center
The Bucks County Opportunity Council (BCOC) received $197,132 in ARPA funds to create an in-person food shopping area for the Healthy Eating and Living Partnership (HELP) Center.
Already a leader in addressing food insecurity, BCOC plans, with the added funding, to increase the output of its food distribution by 20 percent over two years. Food insecurity impacts more than 44,000 Bucks County residents, more than a third of whom are children.
To increase convenience and flexibility for food recipients, BCOC also added online and pick-up services during the pandemic.
The Opportunity Council has been in operation for more than 55 years and has been a key partner with the county in helping to lift residents out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency.
No Longer Bound- Bristol Education Center
Bucks County granted $387,703 in ARPA funds to No Longer Bound to build out programming at the Bristol Education Center in Bristol Township. The group has put those funds toward hiring a site coordinator and program facilitators, as well as toward the costs of general operations.
No Longer Bound is dedicated to helping young people and their caregivers develop a foundation of healthy social-emotional skills with a focus on repairing relationships, fixing harmful situations, and healing from adversity and trauma.
In a partnership with the Bristol Education Center, No Longer Bound aims to create a safe space for community members to thrive through educational opportunities and programs that bridge learning gaps.
St. Luke’s Penn Foundation- Camp Crossroads
St. Luke’s Penn Foundation is expanding operations using $459,155 in ARPA funds to grow its Camp Crossroads program
Serving children ages 7-12 with a family history of substance abuse, Camp Crossroads will add staff, including a full-time camp director, as it plans new programming for children and adolescents with mental and developmental disorders.
The organization strives to provide a traditional summer camp experience, while also creating a positive impact on the lives of youth who have a family history of substance abuse.
They accomplish this goal by hiring positive adult role models, offering week-long active programming, and creating a safe and loving space for each camper.
Since 1955, St. Luke’s Penn Foundation has been serving members of the community who struggle with mental health or substance related issues.
Ivins Outreach- Educational Programming Expansion and Home Share Program
Already serving over 1500 students, Ivins Outreach, in partnership with Morrisville Borough School District, hopes to address disparities in education by growing its capacity and providing its wide range of services to up to 3500 children, young adults and seniors.
By utilizing $597,185 in ARPA funds, Ivins Outreach says it can meet its goal by hiring more licensed teachers and tutors which will allow the group to expand its schedule while still providing a personalized learning environment. The organization is also in the process of expanding academic and social-emotional learning (SEL) services.
Along with staffing changes, Ivins Outreach is also using $199,950 in ARPA funds to boost the Home Share program. This program will match vulnerable house-rich cash-poor seniors with working younger individuals looking for affordable housing opportunities in the county.
Ivins Outreach is committed to addressing issues arising in young people and seniors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic including removal from regular interactions and lack of work which has led to social-emotional underdevelopment and financial difficulties.
At the same time, many seniors had concerns about losing their home and moving to an affordable nursing home which in many places became impossible due to lack of availability during the pandemic.