Boston (June 4, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the $109 million that was released today to Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph, communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The cities of Chelsea, Everett, Methuen, and Randolph have borne a disproportionate brunt of the public health and economic crisis over the past year, and today, they finally received the help they need and deserve. We are pleased that the $109 million in federal funding that we fought hard for in the American Rescue Plan, and secured a commitment for the Commonwealth to release, was distributed today so that these hard-hit communities can begin to rebuild and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one step in a long fight for a full and equitable recovery for these communities, and we will continue to work towards that in partnership with community and city leaders.”
In March, Rep. Pressley and Senators Markey and Warren secured a commitment from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to distribute $100 million in federally-provided American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars to hard-hit communities, specifically Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, and Methuen.
The commitment came after Pressley, Warren and Markey and other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation urged Governor Charlie Baker to use the discretion provided by Congress and President Joe Biden in the ARP to immediately target the $4.5 billion in the Commonwealth's direct federal aid to disproportionately impacted communities and secured a public commitment of $100 million. Given the limitations of the CDBG funding formula, the delegation specifically secured this commitment to disburse funds to communities that experience disparities under this formula. In a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen confirmed that under the law, states have the authority to allocate ARP funds to communities hard hit by COVID-19.
Pressley and Warren also led a letter with seven other senators and 26 other members of the House of Representatives, requesting Secretary Yellen use discretion in issuing guidance for ARP funding to support non-entitlement cities that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers also asked that the Treasury work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that population and other relevant community data are accurate and up to date.
Last month, the lawmakers led their colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation reiterating their request for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide relief funds to disproportionately impacted communities that are in desperate need of relief to help them recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.