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Orlando adds $1 million to help low-income residents pay for home repairs

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Low-income homeowners in Orlando needing modest repairs to their houses have a new opportunity following a vote the City Council on Monday.

The city is devoting $1 million in federal funds to boost a program that helps low-income residents make needed home repairs. The funds are part of $58 million in the Accelerate Orlando initiative from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The $1 million approved by the City Council will go toward home repairs costing $15,000 or less. They'll help about 60 homeowners prevent structural deterioration or correct conditions that may threaten their health and safety.

The money will augment the overall Housing Rehabilitation Program, which includes loans for qualified homeowners and is funded through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program.

City homeowners can apply for the Housing Rehabilitation Progam at orlando.gov/HousingRehab.

At Monday's meeting, Commissioner Bakari Burns said preserving existing homes is part of addressing the housing crisis.

"I've been astounded," he said, "by the number of seniors who need new roofs, are just living in situations that, I would say, some of them are deplorable, unfortunately."

Burns said the funds will help fill a needs gap among those seniors.

Also on the housing front, the council approved $959,500 dollars over two years for the Homeless Services Network.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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