Check out Orange’s plans for $49K in local grant awards

Published 12:40 am Saturday, July 16, 2022

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During the Orange City Council meeting this week, Community Development Block Grant approvals were announced.

The $49,412 total budget will be shared between eight organizations. Despite the 4.5 percent budget cut, every organization’s allocation of funds was increased due to a cost-of-living adjustment.

The Orange Community Action Association (OCAA) secured the most funds. The $14,000 awarded will benefit Meals on Wheels, which provides a vital service; 350 senior citizens receive meals daily through this initiative. In allocating $14,000 to OCAA, the city considered the demonstrated need to provide meals to seniors, and higher grocery prices.

Greater Orange Area Literacy Service was given $7,000. The Literacy Service is an adult education service offering GED courses, ESL course, and tutoring. Rhonda Powell, Executive Director of GOAL, emphasized how important the $7,000 grant is to the adult learners.

“It will help us tremendously, the CDBG grant is our largest one,” she said. “It helps pay for school supplies…every service we offer is free.”

“We appreciate the tremendous help that the grant offers because it helps adult learners earn better jobs, go to college, join the army or help their children with homework.”

Also securing $7,000 were Jackson Community Center, Southeast Texas Hospice and Stable Spirit. Julie Rogers Gift of Life was awarded 5,000.

Two new organizations were awarded funds, BuildHer received $1.412, and Voice of Hope received $1,000.

BuildHer founder and Executive Director Tramena Horn expressed appreciation for the CBDG grant and detailed how the money would be used.

“These funds will be used to make technology available to the ladies we mentor,” Horn said. “This will help with tutoring, preparing for exams, college preparation, and more. Thank you to the City of Orange for the CDBG funds.”

The awarding of the lower percentage of funds for these two organizations was explained by Rita Monson, Grant Planner of the City of Orange.

She reasoned because these organizations are new, they would be given time to prove themselves. A larger share of the grant may be awarded in the future when appropriate.

The Community Development Block Grant program is federally funded. Although not as restrictive as a categorical grant, there are restrictions that accompany the usage of CDBG funds.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development permits the city to use these funds to help low- and moderate-income citizens, eliminate city blight or address emergent health and safety needs of citizens.

To be considered for CBDG funds, organizations may contact the City of Orange’s Planning and Community Development Department.

— By Shari Hardin