American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Washington County's American Rescue Plan Act 2022 report (PDF). This is the report as it was sent to the U.S. Treasury July 31, 2022.

Washington County is reporting how American Rescue Plan Act funds were directed for the third quarter of 2022.

Washington County is reporting how American Rescue Plan Act funds were directed for the second quarter of 2022.

Washington County is reporting how American Rescue Plan Act funds were directed for the first quarter of 2022.

Washington County's American Rescue Plan Act 2021 report. This is the report as it was sent to the U.S. Treasury Aug. 31, 2021.

In addition to funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, Washington County also received received $31.7 million  from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act in 2020. See how Washington County used those funds to support community safety initiatives, and support county residents and businesses in the county.

Washington County seeks requests for funds for broadband investment

The Washington County Board of Commissioners has allocated $2 million for investments in broadband within Washington County. 

The Broadband Grant Program will provide 1:1 matching grant funding to cities, townships, and broadband providers for the expansion of high speed broadband. Eligible project areas include any unserved or underserved area within Washington County. An unserved or underserved household or business is one that is not currently serviced by a wireline connection that delivers a reliable broadband services with a minimum speed of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

 Completed projects must allow enrollment in a low-income subsidy program. Recipients may use the funds to cover limited costs incurred for eligible projects on or after March 22, 2022. Applications are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Find more information on this explainer.

This is the grant management portal. The portal requires users to create a log in. Questions may be directed to this email address.

  1. Executive Summary

Washington County, while a county that is fortunate to have natural, financial, and human resources, has residents who were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as did every area in the country. Its leadership and residents are grateful to have additional resources to rebuild the organization and assist residents as the pandemic abates. 

A number of projects will address needs and deficiencies and inequities that were exacerbated in the county by the pandemic. The hungry became more evident, the unhoused became more prevalent, the un- and under-employed suffered more acutely from their financial plight. A number of programs will address and, it is hoped, alleviate these deficiencies going forward. 

This report includes a list of projects and initiatives that the county will undertake in its recovery. 

If you have comments on the proposed plan, they may be submitted through this email form.

Response to the Washington County American Rescue Plan Act program

  1. Leave This Blank:

  2. This field is not part of the form submission.

  1. Use of Funds
  2. Equitable Outcomes
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Use of Evidence

Washington County is approaching its recovery efforts in two phases. The first phase over the first two years commits approximately 80% of the county’s allocation to address continued response to ongoing pandemic needs, focusing on recovery for those most impacted by the public health emergency, addressing long-standing gaps in the economy that prevent equitable economic recovery, and shoring up government services to continue to serve the needs of the community. 

Almost 38% of the county’s allocation has been dedicated to the public health response. Ensuring availability and access to COVID-19 vaccination and testing best positions the county to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Equipment, service, and building modifications in the recovery plan will assist in the response to COVID-19. 

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides the county the opportunity to bolster its Crisis Response Team to address the increasing mental health needs within the county.

The county’s allocation addresses economic gaps experienced by residents, businesses, and non-profits by focusing on food security, internet access, and job training, and targets support to those hardest hit by the pandemic. It addresses housing stability with housing outreach and an Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Community Health Workers will address the health disparities exacerbated by the pandemic. 

The county is using a portion of the allocation to improve the county’s infrastructure to better position itself for the ongoing public health emergency. Investments in the county’s information technology, capital equipment needs, and staff augmentation – for example, in the attorney’s division to address the case backlog as a result of the pandemic – will allow the county to continue its recovery and preparation for a future COVID-19 response. 

The second phase of the county’s response is dependent on evaluation and assessment of phase one efforts.

  1. Public Health
  2. County Infrastructure
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Impacted Communities

Public Health $31,210,893

Community Health Worker-Health Equity Initiative (Multi-year effort), $2,235,000

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and /or have an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables CHWs to serve as a liaison between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. CHWs also increase health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities. This ARPA project aims to develop community engagement to address community recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through a health equity lens. 

Eligible services include services to connect residents with health care resources and public assistance programs to build healthier environments. The project will fund navigators who will assist community members with navigating and applying for available federal, state, and local public benefits or services.

Crisis Response Mental Health Service Augmentation, $250,000

The longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be determined. There has been an influx of new intakes, as well as the suspension of routine case closures. This swelled caseloads across most mental health programs, and increased demand on the state and federal government for additional resources. This project would employ special project positions for two years to administer assistance programs based on current needs.

County Emergency/Transitional Housing Capital Program, $8,000,000

This project would provide money for the purchase of a 50-75 bed hotel to be converted into a 30-bed shelter. Remodeling will include a commercial kitchen, room modifications, community spaces, office spaces, etc.

This will be the first permanent shelter in Washington County for adults and will allow residents to receive services in the community in which they want to secure housing. The project will serve the hardest-hit communities and families and address health disparities and the social determinants of health, investments in housing, and neighborhoods.

The shelter should open in spring 2023.

County Emergency/Transitional Housing, $800,000

This project would support the housing of those experiencing homelessness until the Washington County ARPA funded 30-bed shelter is operational in spring 2023 and provide one special project position to assist with the hotel shelter program for one year. The Center for Evidence-based Solutions to Homelessness guide the county’s strategy and approach regarding homelessness within the jurisdiction.

This project would include funding for general operation and administrative support and supplies. This may include communication/marketing, education about need for emergency housing, cleaning and incidentals for hotel rooms, consultation fees for people with lived experience, and support services for people accessing services in the shelter when no other funds are available.

Funds are being directed to provide services to communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to promote and encourage strong, equitable growth. The project will serve the hardest-hit communities and families, and address health disparities and the social determinants of health, investments in housing, and neighborhoods.

County Emergency/Transitional Housing (Youth), $400,000

Washington County will partner with Dakota County for the purchase of a building for a youth shelter. This is a one-time use of capital funds. For those served, 80% of children and youth are in need of short-term emergency stay in a facility within 30 minutes of their family home; 90% of children and youth will receive the right level of support and services, and not have to choose a setting that is more restrictive due to lack of options.

Housing Outreach Team Supervision, $250,000

The Housing Outreach Services Team (HOST) began in 2014 and has grown; the request is for a supervisor to meet the current need of the community and the anticipated program growth.

As the needs of HOST grow, the current model of supervision is not sustainable. The supervisory responsibilities of the HOST team have diversified as the housing support needs have increased extensively with the expansion of the homeless population in Washington County. This has required increased supervision with expanded services, fiscal management of grants and funding sources, and the development and coordination of shelter services. With the onset of COVID, HOST has experienced an elevated need for homeless outreach, emergency shelter, and housing support services while standing up a COVID shelter.

Food Security Program, $202,000

This program will continue the work of the Food Security Team in partnership with local food shelves. The program includes Emergency Food Pack delivery, transportation of food boxes to people in the community, and infrastructure to support food shelf partners to take over administration of this program by the end of 2021. It will also include a number of food preparation and delivery programs.

Library Express Lockers, $350,000

The Library has express lockers in Hugo, Newport, and Marine on St. Croix. In 2020, the use of these lockers was 52% higher than in 2019. Also in 2020, all Washington County Library branches provided curbside pickup, which provided a much needed service during the pandemic. Adding express lockers outside all branches would provide 24/7 access to library materials across the county. In addition, the lockers could replace the curbside pickup service offered at each branch.

Additional express lockers in Washington County would assist the response to COVID-19 and the broader health impacts of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 public health emergency as adaptations to public buildings to implement COVID-19 mitigation tactics. Lockers would also support equity-focused services by allowing flexibility in access to library services for hard-hit communities. Additional access to library materials would also help address educational disparities and promote healthy childhood environments.

Building Modifications to ensure safe service delivery, $6,000,000

The project would reconfigure workstations and office spaces to accommodate changes in workstyles, including telework, due to the pandemic. Replacing existing furniture with more flexible options will maximize the space and reduce the need for future space growth in the county. Reconfiguration front reception desk areas throughout the county will enhance safety between front desk staff and the public, and increase security in the buildings. Upgrades and installation of A/V equipment throughout the county will allow for enhanced virtual interaction between staff working between sites, between home and office, and between staff and clients.

Reconfigurations would allow for proper teleworking to accommodate social distancing guidelines in a pandemic, while maximizing the availability of staff within buildings to serve the needs of the public.

Payroll and Benefit Costs of those Directly Responding to the Pandemic, $2,196,793

While the costs have dropped significantly in 2021, the county continues to incur salary and benefit costs for those directly responding to the pandemic, including costs to administer this federal funding and consulting costs.

Public Health Enhancements to County Environmental Centers, $439,800

The county uses its Environmental Center to support the public health preparedness efforts. This project will provide dedicated space in Woodbury, and at the new center in Forest Lake, for supplies and equipment necessary to respond to public health emergencies.

Virtual Meeting and Service Support, $201,800

The County Board Room requires a high-quality production system to meet the needs of commissioners, the public, and county staff who attend meetings and workshops. There is an internal staff commitment to maintain all the A/V equipment in the Board Room weekly to meet the production quality expectations. In addition to the Board Room, there are 197 conference rooms that serve the public and departments that routinely need support for maintenance and programming. 

This position will also develop conference room standards, develop a training program for staff, and coordinate contracted work that cannot be completed internally. This will support remote work and client services. This position will be expected to provide high-quality customer service to all county departments to minimize any A/V disruptions to meetings in conference rooms and the Board Room.

Safe Working Environment at Big Marine Park, $418,000

The staff facility building at Big Marine Park Reserve does not have running water, staff restrooms, or a handwashing station. This project would add these basic amenities for staff as well as include an eye wash station, employee work areas, locker area, and a basic lunchroom space.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, handwashing is one of the core components to slow the spread of COVID-19. By providing a restroom and handwashing station for staff, staff have better opportunities to wash before eating, after using a restroom, and after being in a public place. One chemical toilet, and associated costs, will be discontinued.

Public Health Records Assessment and Support, $400,000

This project improves the design and execution of certain public health records systems within the county.

Protective Equipment and Measures, $250,000

This project will provide the necessary safety measures for virus transmission mitigation, including, but not limited to, materials and supplies, temporary modifications, enhanced cleaning, and other needs.

Campus Heating and Cooling Improvements, $8,000,000

This project will replace the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems throughout the Washington County Stillwater campus, including boilers and chillers, along with associated piping, pumps, and motors as necessary. In addition, select air-handling units may have to be replaced to accommodate the new equipment. The new equipment will provide a higher energy efficiency than the current equipment. Enhancements would include increased air flow and outside air intake, replacement of equipment that is unable to accommodate the recommended guidelines during a pandemic due to age and vintage, and provide additional functionality, which would allow for quick reaction to public health-related concerns in a timely manner.

COVID-19 Testing Planning and Implementation, $60,000

This project continues the county's testing program and costs would include all supplies, staff time, and materials.

Jail Camera and Security Systems $350,000

The jail is in need of an upgrade to its jail security system, which includes more cameras in the jail for increased coverage. The jail security system needs a software upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Also, 24 more cameras are needed to monitor vulnerable inmates, including those who are suicidal and self-harming.

Court Room Security Glass $200,000

This project will extend security glass to the ceiling and/or fully enclose the inmate holding area of Courtroom 200, which is used for in-custody arraignment.

Access and Continuity Navigator $207,500 

This is a pilot program for Community Services that includes embedding two Community Services staff at Washington County libraries. The model is designed to simplify the process for residents to access support and services by offering assistance in accessible locations, such as libraries, and through transferring the complexities of the system to community services staff whenever possible.