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  • Melissa Jones, MPA

BARHII's New Resource Gallery for Equitable COVID-19 Investments

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Practical Tools for Making Health Equity Dreams into Reality

They say, “the distance between dreams and reality is action.” In this remarkable moment, I think we need a new catchphrase: the distance between dreams and reality is investment.

Today, I’m excited to share a new toolbox that BARHII has assembled to help the Bay Area make wise investment decisions now to leverage this moment for transformative change.

A Generational Moment of Challenge and Opportunity We’re living in unprecedented times. Federal, state, and local governments are making investment decisions at a once-in-a-generation scale. There’s a lot of money coming—and its being awarded extremely quickly. While the infusions of funding are large, so are the lines forming for those dollars. To realize our equity visions, it’s time to talk about priorities.

Prior to COVID-19, opportunities for health were unevenly distributed in this country. The pandemic has significantly amplified this “underlying condition.” COVID-19 continues to cause major suffering, especially for the Bay Area’s Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander populations—with ripple effects in housing stability, economic opportunity, and a host of other social determinants of health. In addition, we’re facing a growing crisis of climate-driven disasters, requiring us to manage overlapping emergencies that disproportionately impact the health and well-being of equity communities. Now it’s time to prioritize investments that can turn the tide to advance health justice.

Directing Investments to Health Equity ​A number of major federal and state funding decisions have opened the door for local governments to make transformative investments in community health, racial justice, and economic well-being for all. These include the American Rescue Plan Act, the just-signed federal infrastructure bill, the prospect of a federal social infrastructure package, and California’s historic 2021 state budget. Each of these new sources should be harnessed toward equity.

“Our country doesn’t just have a pandemic; it also has a renewed recognition of centuries of racism.” -Dr. Marc Schustster founding dean of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine

The most pressing of these investment opportunities is the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which included allocations of funds to local and state governments. Larger Bay Area jurisdictions must submit their ARPA spending plans by January 31st; plans from smaller jurisdictions are due a few months later.

This means many local governments around the region are racing to finalize their ARPA investment allocations.

BARHII Resources for Shaping Local Investments

As part of our ongoing focus on ensuring an equitable response and recovery to COVID-19, BARHII has produced a series of powerful toolkits to support local governments in advancing health equity and shared economic prosperity in their investment decisions. Some resources provide foundational frameworks for addressing health equity, while others dive deep into specific strategies, such as local Equity Officers for emergency response or grants for community-centered resilience planning. Together, they form an exciting toolbox for shaping the many investment decisions local governments must make in the months ahead—including those upcoming ARPA deadlines.

We encourage local government officials to use these many tools to drive funding to the communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and pre-existing inequities—especially Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander populations. This is a moment to “go big”—working in partnership with community members to set priorities for catalytic change and invest in a just, healthy future for all Bay Area residents.

Where We Go from Here

We look forward to partnering with you to harness the tools described below to strengthen our collective health and well-being. We stand ready to support you in moving these priorities forward in your jurisdiction and connecting with other jurisdictions that are leading the way. We also provide a host of webinars, trainings, communities of practice, and other support that help leaders bring these ideas to life. And stay tuned for even more tools coming to the toolbox in the months ahead!

Melissa Jones

Executive Director


BARHII's COVID-19 Investment Resource Gallery

COVID-19 Equity Investment Guide: Local Policy & Investment Priorities for an Equitable Rolling Recovery (Summer 2021)

We recently released the second edition of our “equity investment guide” and it's bigger and better! This powerful tool supports local government investment decisions for an equitable rolling recovery from COVID-19. The guide integrates the latest information on federal and state investment opportunities—with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and California’s historic 2021 state budget. It also includes guiding principles, our top ten priorities for local investment, and examples of promising practices from across the Bay Area.

It’s a great companion to the first edition of the guide from fall 2020, which provides a broad suite of policies and investments that local governments can adopt to advance equity.


The Four R’s of COVID-19 Recovery: BARHII’s Rapid Response and Rolling Recovery Plan (Summer 2020)

In summer 2020, we laid out four major categories to guide response efforts to protect the health of those disproportionately affected by COVID-19: requiring basic health protections for workers; rebuilding financial stability for families, small businesses, and social enterprises; reconnecting communities and protecting mental health; and revolutionizing the status quo to protect people of color. Here, we describe the four categories, including key implementation actions and desired outcomes. This foundational tool incorporates expertise from over 1,000 government leaders, public health professionals, and community members.


Preparing for the COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Cliff: Eight Essential Actions for the Bay Area (Fall 2021)

This guide outlines powerful solutions for local governments and philanthropic leaders to address the expiration of emergency COVID-19 housing stability protections. To identify these solutions, BARHII convened an array of experts from across the region—including legal assistance and safety-net service providers, community organizers, philanthropic leaders, and public health experts. Our findings are shaping the priorities of local government leaders, philanthropies, and community-based organizations throughout the Bay Area.


Embedding Equity into Emergency Operations: Strategies for Local Health

Departments during COVID-19 & Beyond (Summer 2020)

Early in the pandemic, we recognized an urgent need for local governments to establish a new organizational model to address inequities in emergency response and recovery processes—anchored by an Equity Officer and support team. BARHII partnered with the Public Health Alliance of Southern California to identify how local health departments and other government leaders could invest in building this new approach, including promising examples from across the country. With funding and support from the California Department of Public Health, this model is now moving into implementation across California.


Farther Together: Seven Best Practices for Engaging Communities to Create a

Healthy, Resilient Region for All (Spring 2021)

This guide lays out a path for transforming how public agencies engage communities in climate resilience planning and disaster response to foster a healthy, resilient future. The report identifies systemic reforms needed in our public investments, institutional structures, and public engagement mandates. It also provides detailed recommendations for centering communities impacted by inequities during our planning processes—from project budgeting tips to no-wrong-door approaches for gathering community-driven solutions.

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