Orange County approves CARES Act funds to help homeless community

Mobile unit from Clean the World will be able to provide up to 50 showers a day

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved $250,000 to assist the homeless population in the county. In partnership with the non-profit organization, Clean the World, the mission is to make sure those who are homeless have access to mobile cleaning and other services including COVID-19 testing.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get to those unsheltered populations that won’t come into shelters. They’re living out in the rural parts of Orange County, the east side, the west side,” Donna Wyche, manager for mental health and homelessness for Orange County said. “We wanna keep them as safe as possible as well as everybody else.”

Wyche said the mobile unit will be able to provide up to 50 showers a day.

“Clean the World has been a great partner for us for a long time, you know, whenever we have a disaster here, they’re always the first to give us any kind of cleaning products for the homeless,” Wyche said.

County Commissioner, Maribel Gómez-Cordero said the services will be provided in various areas of the county, like Bithlo.

“They will be not only stationed in one place so it would be like running around the county so that would be helpful as well,” Gómez-Cordero said. Among the resources, Clean the World is expected to provide housing options. Wyche said the goal is to keep the homeless community well.

“What this will also do is if we can keep our homeless well, that means they stay out of busy emergency rooms where sometimes they go to get their primary care because there’s nowhere else for them,” Wyche said.

Funding for the initiative comes from the federal CARES act grant program Orange County received during the pandemic.

“We took $250,000 as well to provide, you know, we have a lot of homeless, that live all around Orange County, especially around downtown, the east side,” Commissioner for the 4th district of Orange County, Gómez-Cordero said.

Wyche said the initiative will also serve to build strong relationships with the homeless community and help get them back on track.

“The goal in all of this is really to engage them, build relationships with them and get them out of the woods,” she said.

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