Val Demings Showcases $1 Million in Federal Funds for Programs in Central Florida

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., presented Orange County and Eatonville with federal funding that she secured for programs in Central Florida.

Demings successfully secured $665,000 for sewer and wastewater infrastructure projects in Eatonville and $300,000 for the Orange County Community of Schools and Services’ Youth and Family Homeless Diversion to support K-12 students experiencing high rates of poverty, homelessness and related challenges.

“Safe and clean water is critical for every community, and I’m proud to have worked with the historic town of Eatonville to secure federal funding to repair and expand their freshwater infrastructure. This project builds on our successful work with Democrats and Republicans to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and make sure that our water is clean and our communities can continue to grow,” Demings said.

“I grew up the daughter of a maid and a janitor and while my parents had to work hard every day, we made ends meet and I was able to get a great public school education. But not every child is so fortunate, which is why I worked with Orange County to make sure that every child in our community, no matter their family circumstances, should have a fair chance to go to school and not be left behind. This program will help at-risk youth facing homelessness, mental health challenges, and other quality of life issues to prosper. Education is the great equalizer, and together with community partners we can grow this proven, successful model to help our children stay safe and find opportunity,” she added.

The congresswoman’s husband thanked her for her efforts on Capitol Hill.

“Orange County has a real housing crisis, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 6,000 homeless students in Orange County Public Schools, we need to look at new interventions to prevent homelessness experienced by children and families. I am grateful for Congresswoman Demings’ advocacy on this critical issue in our community and her support of the funding request by Orange County to launch a youth homelessness prevention program. The project will have a true, positive impact on the community we serve,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

“Our town is currently having an economic growth spurt. Domestic pollutants are a major source of diseases so updating our water and sewer systems is paramount to the health and welfare of our citizens, especially as we turn the corner on this pandemic. I am thankful for Congresswoman Demings’ continued efforts to serve her constituents in the town of Eatonville,” said Eatonville Mayor Angie Gardner.

Demings successfully secured $665,000 for the town of Eatonville’s Vereen Lift Station and Quadrant Rehab. These repairs to Eatonville’s sewer and wastewater project will stabilize the wastewater infrastructure of America’s oldest black incorporated town and allow the community to continue to grow in a sustainable, safe and sanitary manner.

Demings successfully secured $300,000 for the Orange County Community of Schools and Services’ Youth and Family Homeless Diversion, which will help fund a pilot program for the “Upstream Model” to ensure support for K-12 students in need of counseling and extra support. This model, which has been used successfully in other communities, helps to identify youth and families in need quickly and directs school personnel in providing targeted recommendations to community providers and services. Youth in Orange County experience high rates of poverty, homelessness and related challenges, and this targeted support can be critical to overcome these challenges and provide them with a bright future.

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