Unlocking Opportunities: Government Programs Supporting Community Projects in Orange County

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is designed to develop viable urban communities and provide services primarily to low-income citizens and their neighborhoods. This grant can be used for a variety of purposes, such as affordable housing, homelessness prevention, services for veterans and older adults, and workforce development. The Office on Aging in Orange County works to ensure that older adults enjoy a high quality of life by providing them with information, assistance, transportation, and health care. The Orange County Government also strives to make the county a safe, healthy, and satisfying place to live, work, and play for current and future generations by providing outstanding and cost-effective regional public services.

One such service is the Self-Employed Home Improvement Finance Program. This program is a partnership between Orange County and SELF (Solar & Energy Loan Fund), a non-profit organization that provides community loans for various home improvements that can help save money, improve hurricane resistance, and increase comfort and habitability. The CDBG Program achieves its goals by carrying out eligible activities such as capital improvements, affordable housing development, and public services. The Project Roomkey and Rehousing Strategy is designed to quickly provide resources dedicated to ensuring that Project Roomkey units remain online during the ongoing public health emergency and that homelessness is not recurrent.

The Homekey grant program, managed by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), created additional opportunities for agencies to purchase hotels, motels, apartments, and other buildings to provide long-term housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The mission of the Orange County Community Action Division is to improve quality of life, promote self-sufficiency, and eliminate the causes and consequences of poverty through the mobilization and orientation of socioeconomic resources, collaboration and partnership, and through the provision of high-quality, easily accessible programs and services. The Orange County Community Action Division created informational videos about each of Orange County's seven community centers. Residents can join the Orange County Community Action Division at an open house or outreach event to learn more about services available in their area.

The Economic Development Division of 26% of the Workforce combines the skills and capabilities of the Orange County workforce with the needs of employers through the Orange County Workforce Investment Board. To ensure that funds meet the immediate and personal needs of residents, business owners, non-profit organizations, and municipal and community partners, the Orange County Government created four funding categories and one replenishment category. In accordance with Government in the Sunshine laws, the Orange County Government must make available all information that it does not consider a threat to the safety of law enforcement agencies and personnel. Through this program, Orange County can implement activities such as rental housing rehabilitation, tenant-based rental assistance, and housing rental activities undertaken by community housing development organizations (CHDO).

The primary goal of these government programs is to provide citizens with access to resources that can help them improve their quality of life. By offering grants for affordable housing projects as well as home improvement loans for self-employed individuals, Orange County is creating opportunities for its residents to build a better future for themselves. Additionally, these programs are helping to reduce homelessness in the county by providing long-term housing solutions for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Finally, these programs are helping to create a safe environment for current and future generations by providing access to public services such as transportation assistance for older adults.

Lawrence Milford
Lawrence Milford

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