San Antonio City Council on Sept. 29 approved allocating $6.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to support the San Antonio arts and immigrant support organizations.

This is part of a series of recent actions in which the city and Bexar County have been budgeting portions of their respective total American Rescue Plan Act allocations toward helping vulnerable communities negatively affected by the pandemic.

Local officials said the city’s department of arts and culture’s ARPA 4 Arts grant program will distribute $4 million among 46 San Antonio arts nonprofits and $1 million to 136 San Antonio artists who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local officials said approved individual San Antonio-based artists have been working as professional artists for the last three years, derive a portion of their income from their artistic activity and have demonstrated COVID-19’s impact to their artistic career.

Scoring for the grant program included a focus on equity as COVID-19 disproportionately impacted specific communities more than others, including low-income communities, communities of color and women, local officials said.

Approved individual artists will receive grants between $7,200 and $7,500 based on their scores, officials added.

Approved San Antonio arts nonprofits must have been providing public arts programming for the last three years and demonstrated COVID-19’s impact to their business, according to city officials.

City Arts and Culture Director Krystal Jones said the pandemic compounded fiscal issues for organizations and individuals within San Antonio’s arts community.

“The goal of this program is to provide San Antonio’s creative industry immediate relief to continue to move forward through this pivotal recovery phase and on to creating arts programming that benefit our entire community. We are now actively administering these funds, so our artists and nonprofits can focus on creative endeavors, rather than how to make ends meet,” Jones said in a statement.

The city’s department of human services will distribute $1.5 million to local nonprofits and social service partners that help immigrant residents recover from the pandemic.

Local officials said San Antonio’s immigrant community and social services were affected by the outbreak with significant disruptions to the U.S. immigrant system, exacerbating immigrants’ attempts to secure citizenship.

The funding provided through the department’s request for proposals competitive process will be used to support targeted programs and strategies to improve economic security and increase citizenship pathways for immigrant residents, city officials said.

The funding will support many residents who were not previously eligible to seek federal relief funding provided to individuals and businesses during the pandemic, officials added.

“COVID-19 disproportionately impacted immigrants in our community by exacerbating barriers to resources and creating new challenges for those seeking citizenship,” Human Services Director Melody Woosley said in a statement.