MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis City Council approved a plan for how to spend $20 million in federal pandemic funds allocated for council initiatives on Tuesday.

“This money will help invest directly into those underserved neighborhoods that need help,” Councilman Carlisle said.

The plan includes more than $2 million dollars in youth initiatives including an HBCU scholarship program, $3 million dollars for a food desert initiative in North Memphis, and funding for solid waste, public transportation initiatives and affordable housing grants and loans.

Councilmembers say this list prioritizes the needs of the people.

“This was a solution driven list of priorities and those are things we’ve touched on often, transportation, safe and affordable housing, blight reduction, community investment. That’s how we established this bucket,” Councilman Carlisle said.

These one-time funds have very strict federal guidelines and must be used to help recover from losses due to COVID-19.

“We go in and check with them and ensure they can comply with the requirements, that they can comply with the recipients reporting requirements which I see you’re asking us to report quarterly,” said Chief Financial Officer Shirley Ford.

It’s money that will be used over the next three years, but council members believe the impact will extend beyond that.

“I think today’s going to go down in history as one of the great days in Memphis city council because we decided not to do everything OK we did a few things something truly great, truly impactful,” Council Chairman Frank Colvett said.

You can read the full resolution here.

Following Tuesday’s vote, the council will now discuss when and how this money will be used in the community over the next three years.