ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County still has more money to allocate from the pandemic funds distributed to local governments from the federal CARES Act.
The county received $243.2 million in CARES Act, or coronavirus relief, funding this spring and set aside $60 million to help families and $72.9 million to help businesses through grants.
Families and individuals who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can apply for $1,000 grants through the county website.
Since county workers began distributing $1,000 grants this summer, they have sent or are in the process of sending payments to 34,000 people or families, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.
The county government will again open the application portal on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 8 a.m. and it will remain open for 15,000 users.
Demings stressed that people who apply do not have to be unemployed but do have to show they have been impacted by the pandemic in some way. The grants are also not just for low-income households.
Diane Arnold, a manager with Orange County government, said the county has sent the Comptroller’s Office $35 million for 35,000 payments. Checks have already been sent out totaling $34 million.
Arnold said the processing time depends on the application but since October they have been able to approve and send out payments within one month after the application.
“It kind of depends if the application, if there’s an issue with it or not. We get a lot of applications, just to give you an example, that for the address doesn’t automatically verify in the system as an Orange County address, which means we have to then do a manual process since one of the requirements is to be an Orange County resident,” Arnold said. “But in general, our goal is to get payments out within a month.”
Demings said $11.7 million remains for the county eviction diversion program. Those applications are still open until Dec. 30. He said 1,038 families have been helped by the program, totaling $3.2 million in CARES Act funding. The county set aside $20 million for the program.
Applications and instructions on how to apply can be found at Ocfl.net/OrangeCares.