Somerville Mayor-elect Katjana Ballantyne and Mayor Joe Curtatone hold Joint Press Conference
Discuss COVID protocols, announce ARPA funds to go to daycare and pre-K, rental assistance, Universal Basic Income pilot project
Somerville - Mayor-elect Katjana Ballantyne and Mayor Joe Curtatone discussed details of the COVID vaccine mandate being considered by the Board of Health, allocations of ARPA funds, and keeping Somervillians safe as COVID continues to impact our region at a joint news conference on December 21.
An unprecedented local infusion of $7 million into direct childcare supports through 2025 makes up the majority of this ARPA allotment, which will initially fund affordable daycare and pre-K for children ages 1.5 through 4 years and eventually expand to children from infancy through school-aged. Rental assistance and the Universal Basic Income pilot project each will receive $1 million. The City is also looking at an additional $3 million for a free and reduced transit pass benefits program targeting retail workers, public school students and parents/guardians, and the municipal workforce.
“We want to make sure Somerville is a city that works for everyone, and these funds give us the opportunity to address many of the equity gaps we need to bridge,” Mayor-elect Ballantyne said. “This pandemic has not hit everyone equally. Some people have kept their jobs while working from home, or even got promotions and raises. Meanwhile, others have experienced major financial and health setbacks or had to expose themselves to a greater risk of catching COVID-19 to earn the money they need to pay their bills. This isn’t free money to spend in a cavalier fashion. It’s money we need to direct to those in the most need.”
“I want to thank Mayor-elect Ballantyne not only for collaborating with us on these first priorities since her election, but in particular for championing basic income, housing, and childcare supports while on the Council. Our shared goal with these initial investments is to ensure these programs reflect our community values,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “People who were most affected during this pandemic deserve to be able to get into a more secure position in their lives.”
Ballantyne will be sworn in as Mayor at Inaugural Ceremonies on Monday, January 3, 2022.