How Orange County residents, small business owners can apply for COVID-19 financial relief

Applications open at OCFL.net/OrangeCares on June 8

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County residents and small business owners who are eager to apply for a slice of the massive amount of federal CARES Act funding now have a new tool to walk them through the process.

On June 1, Orange County launched OCFL.net/OrangeCares, a new online portal that provides information on applying for coronavirus financial relief.

Anyone eligible for the Small Business Grant Program or the Individual and Family Assistance Program will be able to apply starting June 8, but those interested are urged to get all their documents in order before then.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings noted that any business owner looking to receive a $10,000 assistance check or any individual looking to receive one of the $1,000 checks will need to meet certain requirements.

“This is a derivative of the federal funds that we have received through the CARES Act, which means that it does have certain stipulations that we have to follow. This is not free money in the sense that there there are no strings attached to it,” Demings said.

Asked if Orange County’s website would be ready to handle the demand when applications opened on June 8, Demings said the county has added staff to handle the surge.

“When we open the system up we should be able to adequately process applications,” Demings said. “(We) will process, a few thousand, make certain that we get all of them done and we will reopen and reopen where we have a measured approach that is built into the system to manage the demand.”

The county has $72.9 million set aside for business assistance, and $72.9. million set aside for individual and family assistance from the Cares Act grant.

How Orange County is spending its CARES Act money

Funding categoriesFundingAllocation
Small Business Financial Assistance$72.9 Million30%
Social Services and Resident Needs$72.9 Million30%
Orange County Public Safety and Health Expenditures$48.6 Million20%
Municipality and Constitutional Officer Expenditures$24.3 Million10%
Replenishment Account$24.5 Million10%
Total$243.2 Million100%

Eligible businesses for example, must have no more than 25 employees, must not have already received federal funds such as through Payroll Protection Program and must have experienced closure due to the ongoing pandemic.

Individuals and families looking for a portion of the $36.5 million allocated to that program must rent or own a home in Orange County and must have experienced job loss within the past few months.

After each application is reviewed, the applicant will receive a notice indicating whether or not they’ll receive a one-time payment. No timeline has been given on when those eligible will be able to receive their funds.

“We’re urging small businesses and residents to prepare now so they can get their applications submitted in a timely manner,” Demings said. “These funding amounts were broken down to help as many residents and businesses as possible during this challenging time.”

Anyone who needs additional help applying, including translation services, is asked to call 311.

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