Orange County to receive $219M for disaster recovery

The county is asking residents to provide input on how to spend the money.

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Orange County is set to receive $219,712,000 through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program, and it wants input from residents on how to spend it.

The county hosted a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Tildenville Elementary School to gather community input.

The funds will be used to address unmet needs related to Hurricane Ian, including long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization needs, and mitigation of damage from future storms.

About $191,054,000 will go toward unmet needs, while $28,658,000 will go toward mitigation.

In developing its CDBG-DR action plan, the county has been soliciting input from local jurisdictions, public-housing authorities, advocacy groups and community partners, as well as citizens of affected areas to determine the remaining long-term resiliency needs and the most critical disaster mitigation needs.

The meeting was one of 13 hosted across Orange County, with two occurring in District 1 — the other was held Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Green Briar Village Clubhouse — with Orange County Commissioner Nicole Wilson. 

“It’s really important to make sure that these conversations also include people that aren’t able to make it tonight and that we continue to make sure they have opportunities to weigh in and to learn what this potential project is going to bring, as well as making sure that we don’t leave any opportunities on the table for our residents,” she said. “I look forward to finding out what we can do to get the results we need and the resources where they belong.”


Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 28, 2022, and according to a report from the National Hurricane Center, was responsible for more than 150 direct and indirect deaths and more than $112 billion in damage. It is the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history and the third-costliest in United States history.

Orange County is one of four most impacted by Hurricane Ian; the others are Lee, Sarasota and Volusia counties. 

There is more than $300 million in estimated damages to property and infrastructure in Orange County alone.

CDBG-DR funds are granted by the U.S. Congress and distributed through HUD to rebuild disaster impacted areas. Government entities receiving the funds can use them to carry out a variety of activities related to disaster relief and long-term recovery.

CDBG-DR projects are activities related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, and mitigation in the most impacted and distressed areas.

Examples of eligible activities include housing, such as new construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of housing, homeownership assistance, buyout, and rental assistance; infrastructure, such as public facilities, public improvements, match for federal programs and elevation of non-residential structures; economic recovery, such as attraction, retention and return of businesses and jobs; and public services, such as housing counseling, legal advice, representation and job training.

Each activity must address a direct or indirect impact from the disaster in a most impacted and distressed area, be a CDBG-eligible activity by primarily serving low-to moderate-income persons or geographies, and meet a national objective of the CDBG program.

In addition, all CDBG-DR activities, unless funded with the mitigation set aside, must be tied to the disaster covered by the allocation (Hurricane Ian), and the funding can also be used within Orange County municipalities.


Community members in attendance at the meeting ranked infrastructure and housing are the two most-needed priorities.

In the Tildenville community, residents said new construction around the area results in flooding where no flooding was reported before. Longtime residents have seen flooding get worse over time because of new developments. 

The city of Winter Garden has maintenance responsibilities, and it can apply for CDBG-DR funds to conduct infrastructure improvements in qualified areas. 

Tildenville-area facilities mentioned include the playground in Tildenville Park off Avalon Road. Residents said the flooding has not been addressed for some time. 

Other area concerns were drainage and ditches, as well as trash pick-up in the neighborhood.

Homeowners in Lakeview Reserve also mentioned their struggle with flooding issues. The community is gated, and the HOA does not have sufficient funds in its reserve to address the continuous flooding or to make infrastructure improvements. The community residents said they have been in communication with the city of Winter Garden staff.

Other community members in attendance voiced concerns, including renters who reported loss of personal property not being covered by insurance; mitigation protection and the restoration of urban wetlands to aid in drainage and flooding; post-disaster effects such as power outages and debris removal still being needed; and public service needs such as mental-health services and job training and placement for younger individuals. 


Following the community engagement and outreach process, a draft action plan will be published for public comments in November. 

The next steps include a County Commission public hearing for the action plan in December and submission of the action plan to the HUD for review in January. 

If approved, the county will begin implementation of the programs. The county will have six years from the agreement execution date to spend the funds.

The CDBG-DR program is expected to launch early 2024.

The county has made a resident survey available on its CDBG-DR website.

Orange County currently is not accepting any applications for funding. The public will be notified when applications are accepted.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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