The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) (Public Law 117-2) is the latest in a series of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related relief and economic stimulus legislation. Signed into law on March 11, 2021, the ARPA includes approximately $350 billion in direct aid to state and local governments.
AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA)
National emergencies and catastrophes often trigger federal relief and grant funding assistance available to state and local governments, schools and universities, public utilities, other eligible non-government organizations, and even businesses and residents impacted by the event. Every year, the federal government administers billions of dollars through federal agencies that share a responsibility in administering the programs established by Congress. COVID-19 is not different.Download Brochure
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American Rescue Plan Act Overview
- States and The District of Columbia —— $195.3 Billion
- Country Governments —— $65.1 Billion
- Metropolitan Governments —— $45.6 Billion
- Non- Entitlement Units of Local Government —— $19.6 Billion
- Tribal Governments —— $20 Billion
- Territory Governments —— $4.5 Billion
State and local governments cannot use funds towards pensions or to offset revenue resulting from a tax cut enacted since March 3, 2021.
ARPA provides an exceptional opportunity for governments and community leaders to not only recover from the impacts of COVID-19, but to provide their communities on a path for sustained growth, revitalization, and resiliency. Administering ARPA funds, however, will be a challenge even for the most sophisticated state, county, metropolitan, tribal, territorial, and non-entitlement government agencies. COVID-19 recovery success is dependent upon a strategy that instills integrity, transparency, and accountability while also meeting the expectations of the community and taxpayers, and at ISC we are well prepared to meet these needs.
ARPA Funds can be Used in the Following Categories :
Respond to the COVID-19 emergency and address its economic efforts, including aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality.
Provide premium pay to essential employees or grants to their employers. Premium pay couldn't exceed $13 per hour or $25,000 per worker.
Provide goverment services affected by a revenue reduction resulting from COVID-19.
Make investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
State & local governments could transfer funds to private nonprofit groups, public benefit corporations involved in passenger or cargo transportation, and special-purpose units of state or local government.
ISC’s 4 Phased Approach
ISC’s ARPA Approach
ISC’s community recovery strategy has been time-tested and proven in past catastrophic disasters, terrorist attacks, epidemics, and national crises. Our experience and expertise in past national catastrophes and disasters have taught us that securing every eligible dollar of disaster assistance is very important, however, it is vital for communities to initiate COVID-19 recovery activities as expeditiously as possible and take proactive measures to manage its success. We know this at ISC because we understand that:
- Community recovery operations are complex. They involve a multitude of stakeholders that must make informed decisions that serve in the best interest of the community and its people.
- Community recovery does not happen overnight. Not properly managing one stage to the next will jeopardize federal relief funding, cause unnecessary delays with important community recovery projects, and create frustration and discontent with constituents.
To accommodate communities in their ARPA activities, ISC has prepared a Four Phased Approach, as described in further detail below, to guide our clients through the ARPA process, aid in any challenges they may face, and to ensure COVID-19 recovery success. Within the Four Phased Approach, we have broken down our action items throughout the phases into 12 Essential Actions. These action items can be seen numbered (1 – 12) in each phase in the following sections.
ISC’s Four-Phased Approach & Twelve Actions
will ensure COVID-19 recovery success for your community!
12 Essential Actions for ARPA
Administering ARPA funds will be a challenge even for the most sophisticated state, county, metropolitan, tribal, territorial, and non-entitlement government agencies. COVID-19 recovery success is dependent upon a strategy that instills integrity, transparency, and accountability while also meeting the expectations of the community and taxpayers. Our community recovery strategy has been time-tested and proven in past catastrophic disasters, terrorist attacks, epidemics, and national crises.
Define the needs & governance
In Phase I, ISC assists the client in defining a strategy to address the needs of their community and an ARPA governance structure that defines the process of making informed decisions and adhering to programmatic and administrative requirements. In this phase, steps focus on connecting the client to their public and stakeholders in the community, building trust and ARPA awareness, establishing an ARPA governance structure to guide decision making, and mapping the 180+ funding ARPA programs to the needs of the client.
At ISC we believe establishing a defined strategy that addresses the needs of the community and creating an ARPA governance structure is vital to successfully meeting the specific milestones of the ARPA and expending ARPA funding by the December 31st, 2024, ARPA deadline. We understand that with the ARPA containing more than 180+ funding programs, being able to expend ARPA funding by the deadline requires the support, understanding, and collaboration of a wide diversity of community stakeholders. The ISC team will work with the client to establish and institute a governance structure to guide decision-making and promote collaboration with community stakeholders on important ARPA matters and will provide the client with an outreach strategy to engage community stakeholders and the public on important ARPA program topics. Finally, we will help to identify local champions for the ARPA program who will help to build unity and strengthen partnerships between the client and its community.
Establish the plan & controls
In Phase II, ISC helps the client establish an ARPA COVID-19 Recovery Strategy and process controls. Like any other grant program, it is important to have a well-defined implementation strategy that helps guide decision-making practice and defines processes to drive compliance. By aligning ARPA funds with existing programmatic and administrative processes, communities can help to reduce unnecessary burdens of administering the ARPA program and focus on establishing process controls to ensure compliance and that program eligibility requirements are met.
ISC will first prepare an ARPA COVID-19 Recovery Strategy that maps ARPA funding opportunities to community needs. Next, our team focuses on finding ways to make an impact in the community through ARPA funding, focusing on finding opportunities to advance equity, build prosperity, and make an impact. ISC will then assist our client in establishing guidelines to administer the ARPA funds and establish internal control measures to reduce the risk of fraud, waste, abuse of funds, and other activities that may jeopardize federal funding. Finally, the ISC team will work with the client and its partners to design and identify programs that will help stimulate community resiliency, economic growth, and sustainability.
Reporting & performance
In Phase III, ISC assists the client with defining a systematic process to track ARPA funds and ensure compliance, and to prepare quarterly ARPA reports. Throughout the APRA implementation process it is important for communities to be able to pivot quickly from establishing an ARPA strategy to taking action. While communities must move quickly, it is vitally important that they establish a process to continually monitor performance, adhere to Department of Treasury reporting requirements, track their ARPA performance, and make necessary adjustments to improve community ARPA outcomes.
ISC will assist the client in defining a systematic process to track ARPA funds and ensure compliance, and the preparation of quarterly reports. Whether it’s COVID-19 relief or disaster assistance funding, ISC understands how overwhelming administrative, reporting, and compliance requirements can be for communities. For this reason, ISC has developed a web-based tool to manage data and track the comprehensive ARPA grant management process. ISC’s ARPA Grant Management Tool can be integrated into current client processes and systems to help drive workload, track performance, monitor funding queues, create reports, monitor compliance, and audit requirements. This tool provides a centralized location to collaborate on projects and automates workflow to increase efficiency. Personalized dashboards highlight pending tasks and can help gauge the overall progress of the expenditure of ARPA funds. Finally, ISC will assist the county in preparing quarterly reports for the Department of Treasury on behalf of the client. Our Team will monitor and ensure compliance with all programmatic deadlines and assist in the development of time extension requests, as necessary.
Must be Submitted :
- Quarterly for Tier 1-3
- Annually for Tier 4-5
Report Must Include :
- General Project Information
- Project Name
- Identification Number
- Project Expenditure Category
- Major Project Activities
- Status of Completion
- Program income
- Adopted Budget (Tier 1 Only)
- Civil Rights Compliance
- Ineligible Activities
- Project Obligations & Expenditures
- Current Period Obligations
- Cumulative Obligations
- Current Period Expenditure
- Cumulative Expenditure
- Project Demographics Distribution
- Only Public Health and Negative Economic Impact ECs
- Subawards, Contracts, Grants, Loans, etc.
- Required Programmatic Data
- Details Information for all projects on the ARPA Expenditure Category
Must be Submitted :
- Annually for Tier 1 only
Report Must Include :
- Executive Summary
- Use of Funds
- Public Health (EC 1)
- Negative Economic Impacts (EC 2)
- Services to Disproportionately Impacted Communities (EC 3)
- Premium Pay (EC 4)
- Water, Sewer, and Broadband Infrastructure (EC 5)
- Revenue Replacements (EC 6)
- Promoting Equitable Outcomes
- Goals, Awareness, Access, and Distribution, Outcomes
- Community Engagement
- Labor Practices
- Use of Evidence
- Table of Expenses by Expenditure Category
- Project Inventory
- Performance Report
- Required Performance Indicators & Programmatic Data
- Household Assistance
- Negative Economic Impacts
- Education Assistance
- Health Childhood Assistance
- Ineligible Activities: Tax Offset Provision (States & Territories Only)
Monitor, reconcile & audit
In Phase IV, ISC will assist the client with compliance of ARPA expenditures and perform periodic audits to prevent de-obligation or return of funds and perform closeout and reconciliation of ARPA expenditures.
ISC will work with the client to establish audit and financial controls that will reduce the burden of potential audits. Additionally, ISC will maintain file records for each project to account for all associated documentation and accounting records, ensuring costs are consistent with policies and procedures, and that all costs are necessary and reasonable. Finally, ISC’s closeout specialists will review all ARPA project and program funding, reconcile the actual costs and expenditures, and, when applicable, identify any outstanding funds that are owed to the client. In addition, ISC will work with the client to obtain documentation to support all eligible costs and approved scope of work per the ARPA grant funds.
DISASTER GRANT MANAGEMENT TOOL
Track, Manage, and Administer Disaster Grant Funding and Compliance
The Odysseus™ | GMT provides users with a ready-to-use or customized disaster grant management system to allow your organization to track, administer, and report grant funding and comply to regulatory requirements.
Recent ARPA Projects
Chicago Dept. of Public Health
In 2020, Integrated Solutions Consulting was tasked by the City of Chicago to interface within their Public Health Department during COVID-19 mitigation, response, and recovery phases. During this mission, ISC was deployed to the City’s Vaccination Operations Center (VOC), where they developed critical infrastructure for safe, equitable, and efficient vaccine distribution. Over (nearly) two years at the VOC, ISC supported ongoing collaboration with major Chicago departments including the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Fire Department, the Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities, as well as aldermanic members, City leaders, and community partners. This collaboration included the development and implementation of the “Protect Chicago Homebound” Program, which featured in Chicago news media before transitioning into the City’s current “Protect Chicago At-Home” program. These programs alone are responsible for vaccinating nearly 34,000 people in the City of Chicago. In addition to homebound and at-home programs, ISC was also the primary component, liaison, and interface within major Chicago industry groups including the Chicago Department of Aviation, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools, as well the food/grocery industries, manufacturing industries, and transportation industries. Support for these groups (and industries) included all planning, facilitating, and documentation for COVID-19 vaccine operations during Phase 1. Key deliverables and responsibilities during this mission include the development and implementation of the City’s Operations Strategy Guide, Strategic Equity Frameworks, and SITREP framework, while also staffing the VOC Planning Section in both leadership and subordinate positions. These deliverables proved to be critical components for the City to facilitate and sustain successful operations over nearly two years at the VOC. In addition, ISC also supported the development and implementation of a robust mobile operations performance platform for COVID-19 mobile efforts. This platform consists of a collection of geographic information system (GIS) mapping tools as well as critical reports, data analysis resources, and cumulative performance documentation. This platform has been used by wide array of personnel ranging from CDPH leadership, members, and community partners alike to influence key decision-making responsibilities related to mobile vaccination events, door-to-door canvassing, outreach efforts, and more.
Ohio Dept. of Public Health
COVID-19 After Review & Improvement Planning
The State of Ohio, Department of Public Health selected ISC to conduct an After-Action Review and Improvement Plan (AAR/IP) of the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response and incorporate these findings into a statewide COVID-19 Operations Strategic Plan. ISC conducted interim AAR/IPs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic waves, and continually assessed the State’s processes, and capabilities met (as described in the Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities: National Standards for State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Public Health). Additionally, ISC evaluated COVID-19 response operations to include State, county, municipal, and organizational partner demonstrated capabilities to the COVID-19 response through April 30, 2020; current assessments of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; and resources available through federal and state funding. Findings of the AAR and results of the IP were incorporated into the State’s COVID-19 Operations Strategic Plan.
Hamilton County, OH
COVID-19 Disaster Adaptive Recovery & Re-Opening
ISC was selected by the Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (EMHSA) to support the County in the development of a COVID-19 Re-opening Strategic Plan. Under this contract, ISC analyzed hazard risks and impacts, and assessed the County’s overall capacity and capabilities.
Following the Gap Analysis, ISC drafted the Re-Opening Strategic Plan, and provided a “findings report” for the County. After the Re-opening Strategic Plan was activated, ISC developed an adaptive continuity of operations and reclosing strategy to support the County and each of its stakeholders.
Cook County EMRS
COVID-19 Response & Recovery Services
ISC has been supporting the unprecedented response to COVID-19 for the second-most populous county in the United States.
Specifically, ISC has dedicated both in-person and virtual staff to assist various sections of the Cook County EOC, including collecting, evaluating, and disseminating incident situation information and daily summary/lessons learned reports; conducting briefings and planning meetings; maintaining and building information dashboards; developing IAPs; and providing guidance on disaster cost recovery and reimbursement. ISC completed an interim AAR for EMRS on December 2020.
Milwaukee County, WI
Integrated Solutions Consulting (ISC) support for Milwaukee County’s COVID-19 response utilized an operational approach that focused on creating tactical and real-time solutions that will be integrated into long-term plans.
ISC focuses on bolstering Milwaukee County’s ability to provide efficient and effective response tactics and generate cost-efficient recovery and preparedness efforts. ISC ensures that all project objectives not only meet the current needs of the County but situate the County to sustain the developed plans and operational initiatives.
The ISC team coordinates all efforts with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management and the Milwaukee County EOC. Core projects for the COVID-19 response include the development and implementation of a weekly Situation Report (SITREP) Process, a Fatality Management Plan, and a Temporary Morgue Plan.
The ISC team oversaw the development of the SITREP process cadence and weekly report form development, individually trained each Department/Division Point of Contact (POC), and hosted weekly SITREP update calls. The COVID-19 response requires rapid yet diligent response tactics. The ISC Team ensured this process met the needs of OEM and the EOC.
Cook County Dept. Public Health
COVID-19 Response & AARs
Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) is a nationally accredited, state-certified local public health department serving most of suburban Cook County, Illinois (SCC).
The SCC covers a total of 700 square miles; encompasses more than 130 municipalities with nearly 2.4 million people, as well as 15 acute care hospitals, 40 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and thousands of licensed physicians. The region’s geopolitical complexity and changing demographics – where areas of need are shifting towards an increasingly disparate suburban ex-urban population – present a unique set of challenges when responding to large-scale, long-lasting, public health incidents such as COVID-19. In the past 2 years, ISC has led and supported a multitude of projects related to CCDPH’s COVID-19 planning and response, as well as CCDPH’s routine planning and preparedness activities.
In supporting CCDPH’s COVID-19 response, ISC (a) assisted with alternative housing plans, (b) led COVID-19 test management and distribution strategy, (c) provided SME expertise and recommendations on the overall vaccination efforts, from strategy development to supporting the hyperlocal and mobile vaccination efforts. ISC led the development of CCDPH’s Pandemic Response Plan, provided recommendations on the best ICS structure at different phases of the response, convened and led a leadership group to make decisions on the overall vaccination approach, vaccination resource needs, and implementation strategy. The ISC team continues to lead CCDPH’s mobile vaccination efforts as part of CCDPH’s hyperlocal approach, serving as the primary liaison between community stakeholders (CBOs, FBOs, municipal leadership, private entities, etc.), private vaccine providers, and the CCDPH/CCH teams. In addition to fully engaging with and supporting CCDPH leadership and teams throughout all facets of the COVID-19 response, some of the tangible documents developed, include but are not limited to:
The COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan and all version updates. · Overall forecasting and expectations of the vaccination response a. Staffing and equipment need · Key forecasting/trigger factors for changing the response model · Employee Respite Plan · COVID-19 After Action Reports and Improvement Plans (Phases 1, 2, and 3) · Standard Operating Procedures and workflows for:
- The COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan and all version updates.
- Overall forecasting and expectations of the vaccination response
- Staffing and equipment needs
- Key forecasting/trigger factors for changing the response model
- Employee Respite Plan
- COVID-19 After Action Reports and Improvement Plans (Phases 1, 2 and 3)
- Standard Operating Procedures and workflows for:
- COVID-19 test management
- First Responder Vaccination Plan
- Vaccine Management and Distribution
- Mobile Vaccination / Hyperlocal Strategy
- Community Mobile Vaccination Guide
Cook County Dept. Public Health
COVID-19 Response & AARs
- Just-in-time Training for all Vaccination Site and Storage and Distribution Site job roles
- Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) Assessment and Review Ultimately, the ISC team continues to support CCDPH in achieving the three long-term outcomes of its response activities of (a) continuity of essential public health services and supply chain, (b) implementation of the most current public health recommendations and control measures, and (c) reduced exposure to risk.
Milwaukee County, MI
Fatality Management & Temporary Morgue Oprations Plan
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Milwaukee County selected ISC to support a Fatality Management and Temporary Morgue Operations Plan (OPLAN).
The Planning Team designed the Fatality Management and Temporary Morgue OPLAN as concise and actionable plans to assist with the organization and coordination of the fatality management response during COVID-19 response, recovery, preparedness, and mitigation phase missions. The Planning Team based the OPLAN on the principals of standardization and flexibility. Standardization is necessary to ensure coordination and flexibility, and anticipating the unknown and continually changing COVID-19 operational environment.
The Fatality Management and Temporary Morgue Plan required reaching out to all stakeholders that would have a role in a fatality surge, including hospitals, crematoriums, Funeral Homes, and Medical Examiner’s Office. The ISC Team worked with the OEM Team to confirm space for a Temporary Morgue site, secure PPE, and understand the necessary processes. Gaps, such as refrigerator trailer capacity and safety, Temporary Morgue storage reporting process and timeframes, and security of the Temporary Morgue, were identified and addressed. Both plans met the operational need for the COVID-19 response and future emergencies and disasters.
After Action Review & Improvement Mission Planning Hurricane Maria Response & Recovery
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria impacted some of the most heavily populated areas of the United States and caused widespread damages in multiple states and territories. The complexities of the response and recovery operations and the necessity to make systematic improvements resulted in FEMA Headquarters to lead a Mission Planning Team to help resolve the operational challenges to the response and recovery efforts of FEMA in response to Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey.
ISC interviewed disaster management officials from FEMA, State/Territory emergency management agencies, Puerto Rico’s Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resiliency (COR3), and territory/municipal governments. In just a few short weeks, ISC analyzed and synthesized data and prepared an operational improvement plan for FEMA Headquarters to be incorporated into future hurricane disaster response and recovery operations.
The 2017 hurricane season has been the ultimate test of our Federal emergency management system.
The result of this real-event After-Action Review was recommendations for modifying current organizational structures and processes within FEMA as well as state/territory agencies and municipal governments. ISC received a commendation from FEMA Headquarters, COR3, and the prime contractor on not only the thoroughness and innovativeness of the strategy but also the depth of knowledge and expertise of ISC. Most of the organizational corrective actions were implemented over the next several months and many of the disaster response and recovery processes and procedures detailed in the report were implemented.
Office of Disaster Recovery Grant Assistance Management
US Virgin Islands (USVI) Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR)
Office of Disaster Recovery Grant Assistance Management
US Virgin Islands (USVI) Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR)
As part of this engagement, ODR implemented ISC’s Disaster Grant Management Tool software application to track, administer, and report Federal disaster assistance grant funding for Hurricanes Irma, Maria, and COVID-19 and ensure compliance Federal regulations and disaster assistance program requirements. ISC’s tool currently is being used by forty-four (44) agencies and over 300 active users across the Island with varying roles and permissions to manage the territory’s recovery projects. The system tracks USVI’s disaster recovery progress, maximizes funding efficiency, and ensures compliance with Federal disaster assistance regulatory requirements.
Consulting Services – ARPA
Town of Westerly
- Policy review and compliance assurance
- Oversight and planning
- Federal compliance
- Purchasing and contract services
- Financial compliance, tracking, and support
- Project closeout