ALBANY, N.Y. (News10) — As part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan communities were offered funding to help recover from the pandemic. The city of Albany received nearly $81 million.

During a Tuesday press conference, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan released a report of the most critical needs identified by a Covid Recovery Task Force as to where the funding could be put to good use.

Sheehan said the group focused on racial and social disparities in access to healthcare, homeownership, and access to childcare. “The number one thing we see right now that’s holding the economy back is access to childcare,” said Peter Gannon, the President and CEO of United Way of the Greater Capital Region.

Gannon is on the task force, which is made up of community organizations and stakeholders. “Having a smart, reliable childcare infrastructure in the city so that families are not held back,” he said.

Angelo Maddox is another member of the task force. As the owner of Fresh and Fly Clothing on South Pearl Street, he has a big stake in the state of his community. “I want all the small businesses in the underserved community to have access to those funds,” he said.

Sheehan’s office expects more than half of the nearly $81 million to make up for shortfalls in city revenue incurred during the pandemic. Sheehan said she would like to get the funding into the community within weeks.

But how to disperse it and how to apply are still up in the air. The task force strongly recommends the funding be granted to a limited number of the most effective programs.

“Not just do cosmetic fixes to things and put band-aids on things,” Maddox said. “We have to make sure that the money is put into the institutions that will really make an impact and have long-term change.”