CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland City Council has approved spending $13.3 million in COVID-19 stimulus dollars, aimed at helping survivors of domestic and child abuse, improve access to child care children and more.
The largest one-time expense is for Starting Point, a non-profit child care referral agency, to provide signing and retention bonuses to child care workers, according to city documents.
Those entering or re-entering the child care field will receive a $100 bonus upon hire and a $400 bonus after 90 days of employment. Those already working in the profession will receive a bonus of $250. A second bonus payment of $200 will also be available after six months, according to city documents.
The child care industry in Cleveland suffers from a labor shortage, in part due to low wages. A child care worker in the Cleveland-Elyria metro area earns an average salary of $26,370, which is lower than parking lot attendants and telemarketers in the area, cleveland.com previously reported.
The city will also spend $1.9 million on a “scholarship” program through Starting Point that would subsidize child care for parents returning to work and awaiting enrollment in state-funded child care. , according to city documents.
The $11 million in approved spending is only a fraction of the $102.5 million in ARPA spending recently proposed by Cleveland. Most of the city’s proposed spending, $50 million for its “housing for all” initiative, did not appear on the city meeting agenda, nor did other parts of the plan. , such as $16.4 million to upgrade City Hall, $12.5 million for economic recovery and $10.1 million for violence prevention. As of Monday morning, no other ARPA-related items were on the committee agendas for the rest of the week.
Assuming city officials approve the newly proposed $102.5 million in spending, the city still has about $200 million in ARPA dollars to spend. Under federal law, ARPA money must be set aside for a specific project by the last day of 2024 and must be spent by the end of 2026.
Here are the approved expenses:
- $2,668,750 for Starting Point to provide signing and retention bonuses to child care workers
- $2.5 million for the Rape Crisis Center to meet an increased need for services
- $2.3 million for 295 on-board police cameras
- $1,888,750 for Starting Point to subsidize child care for parents in need
- $1,750,000 for the Journey Center for Safety and Healing to help victims of domestic violence
- $1 million for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to represent low-income residents facing eviction
- $500,000 to Canopy Child Advocacy Center to address increased service needs
- $400,000 for a consultant to help the city spend ARPA dollars in accordance with federal law
- $300,000 for the “dollars for doses” program, which pays people to get vaccinated