Fact Sheet Harnessing Federal Funds for Inclusive Recovery in Memphis, Tennessee
Christina Plerhoples Stacy, Nikhita Airi, Wilton Oliver, Becca Dedert, Alena Stern
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Memphis, TN, has a once in a generation opportunity to invest the influx of funding coming through recent federal legislation toward an equitable and inclusive recovery. Ranking 263rd out of 274 cities on overall inclusion before the pandemic, Memphis is a city where these funds have the potential to make a particularly tangible impact. 

Recovering inclusively entails overcoming economic and societal stress in ways that provide opportunities for all residents, but especially those who have been historically excluded, to benefit from and contribute to economic growth. 

Currently totaling almost $1.3 billion, funds coming through ARPA, CRRSAA, and CARES can be used by the city of Memphis, Shelby County, and the Shelby County School District to address long-held patterns of inequity. Many of the prescribed uses for federal funds include policy areas that can promote inclusive recovery, including K-12 education, transportation, infrastructure, and housing. Significant flexible funds are also included, allowing Memphis to pursue economic, workforce, and community development goals. 

The Memphis City Council approved the Mayor’s plan for spending $161 million of ARPA funds. In late fall 2021, the City Council released its priority focus areas, which include blight, community development, pandemic response, homelessness, housing, solid waste, and youth initiatives. As the city’s governing bodies continue to determine how to use these funds, equity must be centered for Memphis to recover inclusively.


Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Taxes and budgets
Tags Fiscal policy Infrastructure Federal urban policies Tracking the economy State and local tax issues Federal budget and economy Community and economic development Inclusive recovery Federal tax issues and reform proposals
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Cities Memphis, TN-MS-AR