A Letter to Shelby County Commissioners

Distinguished Members of the Shelby County Commission,

The Moral Budget Coalition thanks you for the ongoing conversation around participatory budgeting, and are thankful to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris for including several essential investments identified by the Moral Budget Coalition, including Youth & Adult Mental Health, Targeted Direct Outreach to Connect Residents with Programs, the Homeless Flexibility Fund, and Broadband Access & Planning for At‐Home Learners in Underserved Communities, in the Administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) budget.

Investing ARPA dollars in these areas will directly impact our most vulnerable neighborhoods, families,  workers, and students to live a more equitable quality of life. We will continue to advocate for other vital community needs that are not yet addressed by these county investments.

The needs of our community are vast, and we hope that if there are amendments made to this proposed budget, they are made to allot additional funding to investments aligned with a moral budget. In particular, we have worked to highlight the need for commitments to fund public transit, affordable housing, education, and relief for our service industry workforce. Looking forward, we know the process and schedule for next years budget will be decided upon soon, and we have been working with members of the commission and the Mayor’s office to codify a participatory budgeting process for FY2023 that would involve the community and government in an intentional collaboration to create a budget that is truly reflective of our community’s values and needs.

The allocation of ARPA dollars is an opportunity to invest in people. We urge you to support critical ARPA investments that directly support working people and those most vulnerable in our community.

Thank you,

The Memphis/Shelby County Coalition for a Moral Budget

Stand for Children Tennessee, MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope), Memphis Tenants Union, Memphis Music Initiative, My Sistah’s House, BLDG Memphis, Homeless Organizing For Power & Equality, Memphis Restaurant Workers United, Memphis For All, The Decarcerate Memphis, Collective Blueprint, Whole Child Strategies 

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