ARRA has provided a crucial injection of support to states during the worst of our nation’s current economic crisis. Take child care, for example: several states have used the funding to prevent budget cuts; some have reduced waiting lists for subsidized child care; and others have worked to improve the quality of child-care delivery.
That said, a lack of transparency and accountability has prevented grassroots organizations from accessing ARRA funding and assessing the extent to which it has alleviated economic insecurity in their communities. States have had considerable leeway in choosing which funds to accept and which reforms to implement; as a result, billions of dollars have yet to reach those most in need, especially low-income people, people of color and women.
Moving forward, we can do better. In addition to improving transparency and accountability, there should be a greater role for grassroots organizations who know best how to stabilize local communities. We should also bolster support for grassroots policy advocacy. It’s not enough to keep existing programs afloat; we need to continue to transform policies to make them work better for more people, well into the future. Read More
Sara's post is part of the Real Deal blog's Forum on Economic Recovery Act.
Update (22 February 2010)
The Ms. Foundation announces an open call for proposals for Economic Justice and ARRA Implementation.