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Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly says the city's needs far exceed the size of the allotment from the American Rescue Plan.

Chattanooga residents, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions can now apply for grants to help the city invest in a healthier, safer future in a campaign made possible by $38.6 million in federal funds.

The money was made available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Those interested can learn about program requirements at the city's American Rescue Plan Portal. Initiatives that the city is willing to invest in include public health programs, gun violence reduction efforts and water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 6.

There is no limit on how much in grant funding can be requested, but ongoing operating program costs are not eligible for any of the funding.

Chattanooga received $19.3 million in rescue plan dollars for pandemic relief this year and is expected to receive roughly the same amount in 2022.

"Chattanooga's needs far exceed the size of this or any federal recovery program, so while we'll have to make some tough decisions, I've directed my staff to provide a transparent, equitable and accountable process that's worthy of our residents' trust and confidence," Mayor Tim Kelly said in a statement.

(READ MORE: Walker County to apply $5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to water and sewer work)

Meanwhile, residents have until Wednesday — although an extension is possible — to apply to serve on Kelly's 12-member Equitable Recovery Commission, which will help guide how the administration will invest in the community with the federal funding.

The commission will be established in partnership with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and the Urban League. Those interested in applying for a position on the commission, whose members will be asked to serve through the first half of 2022, can do so at the city's American Rescue Plan Portal.

(READ MORE: Using COVID-19 relief funds, Chattanooga helps expand eviction prevention program)

Kelly's administration has emphasized that community input is imperative in showing the commission how its residents want the federal dollars to be spent. A survey allowing residents to share their thoughts will be gathering responses until Nov. 23.

The city has already used some of its federal funding to tackle local issues. In September, the city allocated $500,000 to expand the eviction prevention initiative that launched earlier this year as a pilot program.

Contact Logan Hullinger at lhullinger@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.

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