Over the past several months, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has endangered the health and economic well-being of millions of individuals throughout the United States. Given the magnitude of the pandemic, all levels of government as well as non-governmental entities have an important role to play in mitigating these effects. As efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 continue, cities are playing a leading role in addressing the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic and aiding communities in building resiliency.

Many cities are using this time of momentous change to address longstanding disparities and to plan for long-term health and economic improvements. Recognizing that families and communities of color are heavily impacted by the growing economic divide in this country, many cities have also focused on promoting health and economic equity in their recovery plans. In this issue brief, NLC highlights strategies that can be adopted by city leaders to advance economic opportunity in light of the devastating impact of COVID-19. To learn more, download the report or reach out to Olga Kozlova (Kozlova@nlc.org) or Sue Polis (Polis@nlc.org.)

Key Takeaways

  • The health and financial impacts of COVID-19 have exacerbated longstanding barriers to health and employment. Communities of color have been particularly hard hit, threatening to widen existing health and economic disparities.
  • Cities are advancing innovative approaches to job creation, employment, and economic opportunity through their COVID-19 recovery initiatives. Given the relationship between employment and health, these strategies may also help improve health outcomes and advance long-term economic mobility. 
  • As many city budgets have been hit hard by COVID-19, strategies that focus on existing city resources and strengths are key. Promising approaches include intergovernmental collaborations; partnerships with anchor institutions; programs to support social enterprises, small businesses, and entrepreneurs; and initiatives to boost tech access and adoption for residents and businesses. 

Learn more

NLC through its Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and in collaboration with The Democracy Collaborative‘s Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) invites mayors to participate in an intensive problem-solving initiative with on-going capacity-building efforts.