Updated: Jan 9
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sharee Powell, Newburgh Anti-Displacement Organizer, Community Voices Heard, 845-770-7205
NEWBURGH RESIDENTS DEMAND TRANSPARENCY FROM CITY COUNCIL IN FEDERAL COVID RECOVERY FUNDS DISTRIBUTION
Community Voices Heard members will take over the Newburgh City Council meeting on Monday to demand Newburgh residents be meaningfully included in the American Rescue Plan funding decisions
September 23, 2022 (NEWBURGH, NY) – On Monday, September 26, Community Voices Heard Newburgh members will demand City Council spend the American Rescue Plan money on community priorities.
The $1.9 trillion federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) included $21.8 million for the City of Newburgh to support families and businesses, maintain vital public services, and build equitable recovery from COVID-19. Newburgh has already committed $10.7 million to water and wastewater infrastructure and $3.5 million to revenue loss. The use of the remaining $7.5 million should be determined in consultation with community members, but we have not seen the City of Newburgh engage in meaningful dialogues with our community.
Community Voices Heard had over 1,000 conversations with Newburgh community members who identified two main priorities for the money:
Fund youth programs, and
Address the housing crisis in Newburgh.
An estimated 2,600 youth under the age of 24 are living in poverty in Newburgh, according to America Community Surveys data from the U.S. Census. Further, more than 17% of Newburgh youth between the ages of 16 to 19 are out of school and out of work, according to a 2021 Newburgh Housing Needs Assessment. In our conversations, we heard from both parents and young people who want the City to do more to support youth in Newburgh.
Newburgh residents also expressed deep concern over the growing housing crisis. 43% of Newburgh residents reported spending more than 40% of their income on housing costs. An overwhelming 77% of respondents reported that they may leave the community because of housing costs. Newburgh residents deserve safe and affordable places to live.
Nearly a third of all people in Newburgh are living below the federal poverty level, according to U.S. Census America Community Surveys data. Those living in poverty were the hardest hit by COVID-19, and ARPA funds are intended to assist those most impacted by the pandemic. The City can use the ARPA funds to rebuild a stronger Newburgh, but it can only achieve this with the input of Newburgh residents.
At the City Council meeting, Community Voices Heard will demand a meeting with Mayor Harvey, City Manager Venning, and the Newburgh City Council in the next two weeks to work together to use the American Rescue Plan dollars to fund youth programs and address the housing crisis.