Deadline this Friday to Apply for $243 million for COVID-19 Relief Efforts for Orange County, FL

Deadline this Friday to Apply for $243 million for COVID-19 Relief Efforts for Orange County, FL

Hello Neighbors,

In my previous newsletter, I shared with you the efforts that other Commissioners across the nation and I made to achieve $150 billion in the CARES Act to local governments such as Orange County, FL, to help our citizens in relief from the COVID-19 crisis. I'm excited to tell you that Orange County, FL share of that is around $243 million. We were informed a couple of days ago that we have until this Friday, April 17, 2020, 11:59 PM, to apply, or it will go to the State. After applying, we should receive the much-needed funds in 30 days.

The application must be from the County's Chief Executive, who, in our case, is Mayor Jerry Demings, and it must state the items it will be used for and how much money is needed. It can not be used for items previously accounted for in the county budget. It also must be used for necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 crisis.

I sent a memo to the Mayor, Commissioners, and County Administrator with a list of items I feel that we should fund with this money. Using the funds for businesses and the healthcare industry are not included in my memo because the CARES Act already funds those expenses with over a trillion dollars.

If you have any comments to share with the Mayor, Commissioners, and County Administrator on the items in the memo below, please email them. It is essential that the Mayor especially hears from you on this item since he is the one who would be deciding on how the county spends these funds.

Their email addresses are and

For more info please visit,

Here is the content of the memo below:
To: Mayor Jerry Demings
County Commissioners
From: Commissioner Emily Bonilla, Orange County, District 5
Date: April 14, 2020
Subject: Request to Apply for CRF Funds

My intentions from the beginning of this crisis are to make sure that our constituents are taken care of and can get back to normal as quickly as possible. In my first memo to Byron Brooks, my requests for Rental Assistance and other items were intended to accomplish these goals.

I have always believed that if you take care of your employees, most of them will have the integrity to take care of the employer. I believe that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy; however, I also believe that people ARE the economy. Without consumers, there is no business. This is the time when we need to make sure that the people are taken care of and will be well prepared to go back to somewhat of a normal-everyday-life as quickly as possible when there is a vaccine, treatment available, or when people finally take this pandemic seriously enough to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

If we all work together - federal, state, and local governments - we can make this work. This is why, besides my requests to Byron, I have also written letters of requests to the federal government. This advocacy has offered us the opportunity to acquire millions of dollars in the form of a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) established by the CARES Act.

However, we must act quickly to acquire the funds. The County Executive must request the funds. The deadline to receive the funds by the 30-day CARES Act timeframe is April 17, 2020, and must be submitted through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s electronic form. More information on requirements is at the end of this memo for your reference. We can receive this much-needed funding in 30 DAYS!

I will add that we must all heed the following scenario. If we do not help people stay up to date on their rent payments, the landlords can default on their mortgages going into foreclosure, and then we will fall into another type of local recession where home values fall, and the county will experience a decrease in our property tax revenues. This is why it is important that we provide rental assistance. If the county loses the majority of our revenues, we will not be in the position to help anyone. Forbearance of mortgages is up to the banks, which would help landlords; however, the banks are not being very helpful.

In addition, we have many individuals living in hotels who worked at the theme parks, being evicted because they lost their income and need a place to go. These individuals need housing assistance as soon as possible.

Here are my requests for the CRF funds. I believe that if we provide the following to our citizens, we would be in a position to recover much faster when we are able to get back to a type of normalcy. Most of the help below should hold people until the unemployment checks start coming in and helping.
  • Calculate a close as possible estimate of what the below requests will cost to get the majority of our residents the assistance they need to stay above water until unemployment checks start dispersing
  • Housing Assistance for hotel dwellers
  • Rental Payment Assistance
  • Bill Payment Assistance
  • Funding for Case Managers for case management of COVID-19 related constituent cases that can help constituents locate funding and resources that we or others provide
  • 1.5 million cloth masks for our residents 
  • Funding for Community Health Centers and health care providers that can provide healthcare to those who lost their healthcare insurance along with their jobs during the crisis
  • Funding for food for our Food Banks to help feed those who lost their jobs during the crisis

Again, I state that people are and should be our first priority. Without them, we can say goodbye to any type of economic recovery.

I am not including funding requests for testing or treatments of COVID-19 virus or funding for small businesses because those are covered in other sections of the CARES Act.

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