Orange County asks residents for input on how to spend $220M in Hurricane Ian recovery funds

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — “I’m really concerned because the flooding was a lot of times in mobile home parks, again, low-income people, some people that are undocumented,” said Jeannie Economos.

Residents also say funds are needed to help those displaced during the storm.

Samara Robinson says she still knows people who are living in hotels.


“They don’t have a home,” Robinson said. “Most of them are kids. Five to seven kids in a hotel room. They need food. They need income.”

Another idea residents have is providing more affordable housing in both urban and rural parts of the county and expanding homeless shelters for families.

The county says the funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will primarily assist low to moderate-income households, especially with housing.

Read: Creek cleanouts continue in Seminole County a year after Hurricane Ian

Mayor Jerry Demings says that could even include rental assistance.

He says the ultimate goal of these meetings is to create an action plan that includes the most common needs for funding.

“So everyone’s situation is unique,” said Mayor Demings. “So we have to try to make certain that as many people as possible under the federal eligibility criteria can benefit from this.”

County staff also mentioned a program where the county could potentially buy damaged homes and repair them.

Read: Hurricane Ian’s impact still felt along Volusia County coastline

If you missed Thursday’s meeting, there are eight more scheduled over the next month to get people’s ideas on how to invest this money:

Oct. 5, at 6 p.m., New Beginnings Church, 6859 Edgewater Commerce Parkway, Orlando.

Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m., Tildenville Elementary School, 1221 Brick Road, Winter Garden.

Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m., Meadow Woods Elementary School, 500 Rhode Island Woods Circle, Orlando.

Oct. 16, at 6 p.m., Bithlo Community Park, 18501 Washington Ave., Orlando.

Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., Goldenrod Recreation Center, 4863 N. Goldenrod Road, Winter Park.

Oct. 19, at 6 p.m., East Orange Community Center, 12050 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando.

Oct. 25, at 6 p.m., Taft Community Center, 9450 S. Orange Ave., Orlando.

Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m., Orlo Vista Elementary School, 3 S. Hastings St., Orlando

Looking back: Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida one year ago

After getting input, Orange County officials will draft an action plan for commissioners to vote on in either December or January.

From there, it will be passed along to HUD for final approval.

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