Minneapolis set to spend more than $100M in pandemic funds

A man at a podium gestures.
Mayor Jacob Frey speaks during a press conference at City Hall about re-opening 38th and Chicago to vehicle traffic in June.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

The Minneapolis City Council has approved more than $100 million of federal pandemic relief spending.

The funds approved Friday are the first phase of Minneapolis' $271 million federal pandemic relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides $350 billion dollars to local governments across the country.

Mayor Jacob Frey said the spending would focus on affordable housing, public safety and supporting small businesses owned by Black and Indigenous people and other people of color.

“This funding will support important work to reignite our city,” Frey said in a statement. “As one of the first major cities to finalize a plan for deploying these crucial federal funds, Minneapolis is well-positioned to accelerate our inclusive recovery work and support our residents who have been most impacted.”

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More than $11 million will fund public safety efforts, including violence prevention and youth outreach programs. The spending includes an additional $7.4 million for the Minneapolis Police Department, which has struggled as officers went on leave or retired.

The money will also pay for the city’s guaranteed basic income pilot program, which will give some families $500 a month for two years.

The Minneapolis City Council amended the mayor’s plan to include funding for housing programs, a truth and reconciliation process, youth workers and programs to combat human trafficking.

The city still has $33 million in the first phase that’s unobligated.

The council also created a group consisting of Mayor Jacob Frey, council member and finance officer Steve Fletcher and the council’s budget committee chair Linea Palmisano to expedite the funding. Council member Jeremiah Ellison was the only vote against the plan, saying more time needed to be taken before funds are disbursed.

Frey will issue proposals for the rest of the city’s pandemic relief funding later this year.