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Florida 10 Community Projects

Rep. Demings has submitted funding requests for important community projects in District 10 to the House Appropriations Committee.

Under guidelines issued by the Appropriations Committee, each Representative may request funding for up to 10 projects in their community for fiscal year 2022 – although only a handful may actually be funded. Projects are restricted to a limited number of federal funding streams, and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities are permitted to receive funding. Additional information on the reforms governing Community Project Funding is available here.

In compliance with House Rules and Committee requirements, Rep. Demings has certified that she, her spouse, and her immediate family have no financial interest in any of the projects she has requested.

Rep. Demings has requested the following projects:


Recipient: Ability Housing, Inc.

Recipient Address: 1000 West Kennedy Blvd., Orlando, FL 32810

Amount Requested: $500,000

Project Description: Wayne Densch Center Community Center. The Wayne Densch Center (WDC) directly addresses Orange County’s acute affordable housing crisis and furthers Central Florida’s community-wide effort to end homelessness supported by the City of Orlando, Orange County, The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, the Homeless Services Network and several other local governments and significant organizations in Central Florida. The WDC community center is an integral part of the success of the people residing in the WDC community. Access to community-based services and resources that address tenants’ needs are vital to help the project’s households to achieve and maintain optimal wellness, stability, and self-sufficiency in the community. Additionally, the availability of community-based healthcare and supportive services for the needs of the project’s households is imperative to the sustainability of successful housing. This success cannot be optimized by on-site support staff and the many local organizations that are committed to bringing their knowledge, skills, and services to the residents of the Wayne Densch Center without a safe location to facilitate the workshops, training, healthcare education and other activities associated with successful resident outcomes.      


Recipient: City of Apopka

Recipient Address: 120 E. Main Street, Apopka, FL 32703

Amount Requested: $1,500,000

Project Description: Northwest Water Production Plant New Water Storage Tank. Currently, the City of Apopka has a single 1-million-gallon water storage tank at the Northwest Water Production Plant (NWWPP).  Based on growth in the area, this capacity is marginal.  FDEP requires that agencies provide storage for ¼ of their maximum daily storage plus a portion for fire suppression.  In a perfect world, we would split these fire suppression water storage requirements equally among our plants.  Based on the maximum flow from the NWWPP last summer we are slightly below the ideal capacity though our overall capacity is adequate for the system.  The northwest portion of Apopka is our fastest growing area with a significant number of single-family developments already underway as well as additional commercial and residential planned.  Based on this growth, the City expects to quickly outgrow our current storage level necessitating the construction of a second water storage tank at the NWWPP.  An additional 1.5-million-gallon storage tank will serve the communities needs for at least the next 20 years.


Recipient: City of Orlando

Recipient Address: 400 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801

Amount Requested: $1,200,000

Project Description: City of Orlando Police Department Next Generation Enhanced Body Worn Cameras Project, Orlando, FL. The Orlando Police Department (OPD) has been proactive in developing a Body-Worn Camera (BWC) program. In 2014, OPD and the University of South Florida (USF) partnered in a pilot research project that looked at the use of body-worn cameras. At the conclusion of the 12-month study, researchers determined officer complaints and the number of use of force events decreased during the study period. Following a successful pilot project, OPD implemented an official body worn camera program. This program helps enhance transparency and accountability and improve police services in an effort to improve interactions with the public. The City is now in the process of purchasing new enhanced body worn cameras which furthers the OPD's commitment to serve all citizens with professionalism and equip officers with state-of-the-art equipment to keep our citizens and officers safe. These new BWCs include the latest in auto-activation technology which is tied to both firearm and taser holsters to ensure the most critical incidents are captured from start to finish. This automatic "turn on" feature allows officers to focus on the immediate action in front of them without needing to push a button to record the situation. This technology also activates all body worn cameras on the scene to turn on and record when a firearm or taser is removed from an OPD officer's holster.  These improved cameras also provide for live streams, extended battery life and unlimited cloud storage. The enhanced BWCs will also facilitate immediate review and provide additional training for officers on procedures including de-escalation, customer support, positive peer recognition, and training re-enforcement. The system will also utilize cloud support for faster data retrieval. These enhanced features on the next generation BWCs will enhance officer-public interactions, improve transparency, build community trust and strengthen its community policing efforts. The City is requesting $1,200,000 in FY22 to assist with the purchase of Body Worn Cameras for the Orlando Police Department.  


Recipient: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Inc.

Recipient Address: 155 East Anderson Street, Orlando, FL 32801

Amount Requested: $250,000

Project Description: Arts For Every Life® Arts Education Programs. The mission of the Dr. Phillips Center is to be an inspirational place where people love to be.  This is achieved through our vision of Arts For Every Life®. We believe a performing arts center should be more than a beautifully designed building.  We believe in creating experiences that educate as much as entertain. We believe in making the arts accessible to people from all walks of life—all over the world.  And we believe in inspiring creativity with programming our entire community can enjoy. Our mission, vision, and values are what drive us to provide world-class arts education experiences to so many in our region.  As Central Florida’s premier arts and culture organization, the Dr. Phillips Center offers myriad ways for underserved, low- to moderate-income youth, and Title 1 schools to participate in arts interventions. Our arts education programs are a primary mission-driven activity that regularly engages over 100,000 individuals annually. As we look forward to our 2021-2022 program/fiscal year, the third of which that will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud that our arts education programs have remained in spite of drastic closures across the industry. The 9 programs that we are highlighting for support from the federal government are: Disney Musicals in Schools, Applause Awards, 6th & Jazz, Project WoW, Summer Camps (3), Youth Theater Productions (2), Four Counts, Quarter Notes, and Teen Ambassadors. The Dr. Phillips Center should be considered for this funding because it is a landmark institution for the entire 7-county region of Central Florida. It is a $600M+ capital investment that the community embarked on over 15 years ago. The arts center is a shining example of public-private partnership and showcases the best of private philanthropy and public-sector funding inspired by the community it serves. We are proud to provide supplemental arts and cultural extracurriculars to tens of thousands of public-school students in our region.  The arts center operated favorable to budget in each of its first five years of existence, so investment in our mission and vision will certainly be well spent and passed on to community members.  Taxpayer funds should be used to support the Dr. Phillips Center because they would be used to stimulate our entire region.  In 2018, a private consulting firm determined that the Dr. Phillips Center provides over $130M in annual economic impact to the Central Florida economy, so support of the arts center would reach much further than just our 9-acre campus. Taxpayer funds from the federal government would also allow for Dr. Phillips Center to fully operate mission-driven arts education programs without having to make cuts in cost-saving measures. Due to COVID-19, much of our funding has been used on offsetting revenue losses (roughly $1.5M per month), and COVID mitigation costs (over $2M in the past year). The health, safety, and well-being of our colleagues, students, performers, and audience members is always the top priority, so we spared no expense in ensuring these were being met at the highest standard. This also meant that expenses had to be cut elsewhere, including program budgets. Congressional Appropriation funding for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 would help restore our full arts education budget to pre-COVID levels and, in turn, the number of people who would benefit.


Recipient: Town of Eatonville

Recipient Address: 307 E. Kennedy Blvd. Eatonville, FL 32751

Amount Requested: $665,000

Project Description: Vereen Lift Station/Quadrant Rehab. The Town of Eatonville is requesting $665,000.00 for the upgrades and repairs to a portion of construction of the sewer and wastewater project. The project will include areas of current and future residential developments, such as new approved apartment developments and will help to provide sanitary sewer and a stronger infrastructure for existing and future growth.  This critical project is much needed for the growth and stability of the nation’s oldest black incorporated Town (1887). As past efforts have shown, the Town is committed to continuing to make strides for the growth and compassion of our infrastructure. The overall Sanitary sewer and wastewater project is approximately $63,000,000.00.


Recipient: City of Ocoee

Recipient Address: 150 N. Lakeshore Drive; Ocoee, FL 34761

Amount Requested: $361,075

Project Description: Ocoee Lakefront Park Restroom/Concession Building. Over four years ago, the City’s largest community engagement process was held in order to draft a Master Plan to revitalize downtown Ocoee. One of the most important projects identified by the public was to redevelop the City’s Lakefront Park. Funded as part of a $44 million downtown improvement bond, phase 1 of the Lakefront Park improvements included expansion of the Lakeshore Center, development of a wedding garden at the historic Maguire House, and the creation of a large performance green equipped with utilities to support a variety of community events. Due to rising costs, in 2019 the City had to remove the proposed restroom/concession building and mooring from Phase 1 construction plans. The City is now desperately needing to construct the restroom/concession building to support special events, as well as day traffic, from those using the park and boating on Starke Lake. Our commissioners and our administration receive calls on a regular basis from our residents and park visitors regarding the need to construct this facility. Park activity has increased since the onset of COVID. People want to get outside, enjoy Lakefront Park without having to leave to use restroom facilities.


Recipient: Orange County, Florida

Recipient Address: 2002 E. Michigan Street Orlando, FL 32806

Amount Requested: $300,000

Project Description: Community of Schools and Services (COSS): Youth and Family Homeless Diversion. Requested funding would help the county adopt the Community of Schools and Services model which is based on Australia’s “Geelong Project,” also commonly referred to as the Upstream Model, whereby schools and community behavioral health agencies work together to assess all students K-12 for challenges related to social determinants of health and behavioral health needs. Teachers and school personnel also receive specialized training to identify students in need and how to have effective and empathic conversations with them about these things. The specialized assessment helps to identify youth and families in need quickly and directs school personnel in providing targeted recommendations to community providers and services that prevent, intervene early or address more severe and existing concerns depending on each student’s unique needs. Included in this model is the development of formalized partnerships amongst schools, homeless service providers, individual and family peer supports and behavioral health providers. Participating partners will agree to collaborate with school designees, participating families and other providers supporting each youth and family in a collaborative manner. Partners will respond to referrals within an agreed upon amount of time and at an agreed upon service rate in circumstances when youth and families are uninsured. Partners will also agree to utilize a common data tracking platform. Youth in the state of Florida in general and youth in Orange County specifically experience high rates (compared to other counties and states) of poverty, homelessness and the related challenges that go along with these social maladies. Families of these youth by default also experience these challenges as well. In the 19-20 school year, Orange County Public Schools reported that over 6,200 students experienced homelessness. The COSS model uses a holistic approach to support youth and the family systems that they are a part of by addressing social determinants of health (of which housing and homelessness are a part) as well as behavioral health concerns. By supporting youth through this model, entire families, neighborhoods and communities are supported as well. Requested funding would support a 1-year pilot to plan for implementation of this model in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools and identified community partners. Below are two visual aids that help to further demonstrate how this model works.


Recipient: Housing Authority of the City of Orlando

Recipient Address: 390 N. Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Amount Requested: $68,500

Project Description: Emergency Generators for Orlando Housing Authority Public Housing Sites (2). The Housing Authority of the City of Orlando, Florida, requests FY 2022 Community Project Funding to install emergency standby generators at two (2) assisted housing sites; The Villas at Carver Park and Meadow Lake Apartments. The Villas at Carver Park, constructed in April 2009 (854 Carver Park Street, Orlando, FL 32805), is a four-story, 64-unit affordable housing apartment building for low-income seniors aged 62+. The Villas is a few blocks west of the downtown Orlando business core in the historic Parramore neighborhood. Meadow Lake Apartments 3547 Meadow Lake Lane, Orlando, FL 32808, constructed in 1976, features 87 one-bedroom/one-story public housing units for adults with disabilities.  The site is near a major thoroughfare with access to services, shopping, and public transportation. Seniors and persons with disabilities make up 65% of the Orlando Housing Authority's public housing residents. In 2007, the Orlando Housing Authority officially designated five (5) public housing sites for special populations, i.e., elderly or disabled. As of March 31, 2021, three (3) of the six sites have permanent generators in place or under contract for installation. However, two (2) sites within FL- District 10 do not have generators: The Villas at Carver Park and Meadow Lake Apartments. Generators will help protect seniors and persons with disabilities who live in the targeted public housing units in FL-District 10. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with most hurricanes forming between August and October. In 2017, Hurricane Michael hit Central Florida with wind speeds topping 160 mph.  In 2018 Hurricane Irma impacted the area with wind speeds over 130 mph. More than 41 percent of hurricanes that hit the United States also make landfall in the Sunshine State. More than twice as many hurricanes have hit Florida as the next closest hurricane-prone state, Texas. On March 31, 2021, AccuWeather, a commercial weather forecasting firm, predicted 16 to 20 named storms for the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season, including ten hurricanes. The firm predicts that 3 to 5 storms will become major hurricanes – Category 3 or higher with sustained winds of 11 mph or greater. The loss of power is a frequent by-product of such heavy storms and/or hurricanes. The Orlando Housing Authority has established protocols in the event of an impending natural disaster to support vulnerable seniors and the disabled and to secure the OHA's offices and records. These protocols include contacting seniors and disabled public housing sites to ensure they have water, flashlights, batteries, and sufficient medication for the duration of the storm/hurricane. While these measures are essential, there is little the Orlando Housing Authority can do in the event of a power outage – unless there is a permanent, functioning power generator in place to provide emergency electricity. The Orlando Housing Authority seeks partial funding to purchase and install generators at the targeted sites to provide emergency power to the specific areas within the site to help protect the wellbeing and safety of our low-income, vulnerable residents during an unexpected loss of electricity.


Recipient: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Recipient Address: 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32805

Amount Requested: $769,160

Project Description: Culinary Workforce Training Program. The aim of the Second Harvest Culinary Workforce Training Program is to transform lives by providing eligible, at-risk, and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training that will provide the foundation for a sustainable and successful career. We seek to provide an opportunity to achieve financial security and long-term employability, reducing the number of people who would find it necessary to seek charitable or governmental assistance to obtain enough food for themselves and their families. The 16-week training program is provided at no cost to eligible students. The curriculum covers basic culinary skills needed to successfully obtain an entry-level position in Central Florida’s recovering food service industry. Training takes place in the 2,000 square-foot commercial kitchen located in Second Harvest’s main distribution center in Orlando. In addition to kitchen skills, an integral part of the training involves the teaching of life skills and work readiness.  This part of the curriculum includes training on workplace behavior, communications skills, financial literacy, time management, resume-writing, and interviewing skills. Prior to graduation, students gain valuable hands-on experience during a one-week internship at a local restaurant, caterer, convention hotel, theme park restaurant, or corporate cafeteria. Then all students return and share details of their experiences with each other. Once graduated, the students are assisted in finding available job opportunities at local employers. More than 350 students have so far been able to find meaningful employment after participating in the Culinary Workforce training program. Some graduates have chosen to continue their education, and still others have started their own businesses. Graduating students earn a certificate of completion, a ServeSafe Food Handler certificate, and college credits toward an Associate degree at Valencia College or 300 hours toward a certificate from Orange County Technical College. One past graduate shared her story: “In the past four years I have experienced illness, homelessness, and unemployment.  While staying at the Orlando Rescue Mission, I entered the training program.  After graduating, I was able to secure full-time employment at a major restaurant chain.  Now my life has done a 180. I now have a job, a car, an apartment, and a new outlook on my future.” Yet another crucial element of the training program is the individualized case management and support provided by Second Harvest staff. Most of our economically challenged students come into the program with personal obstacles that could affect their focus or completion of the 16-week course.  For this reason, our program is designed to assist students in helping to removing those barriers to success by assisting or providing guidance with obtaining food, housing, transportation, childcare, or medical needs. Securing employment because of the Culinary Training Program provides an immediate return on investment. Wages for a person who is trained in basic culinary skills and employed full-time will range from minimum wage ($11.75 per hour/$24,440 annually) to $15.50 per hour ($32,240 annually). Using a median annual earnings of $28,340 annually results in a first year return on investment of over 340%. Return on Investment: Long-term employment and potential future advancement can significantly increase that return. Long-term unemployment and underemployment can lead to loss of self-esteem, health issues due to stress and to homelessness. The estimated cost in a homeless shelter is for six months is between $9,300 and $11,200 (Coalition for the Homeless 2008), in addition to other potential community costs for food, healthcare, or counseling. According to Osmond Vitez, (Demand Media) consumer spending is an important economic factor both at the national and local level. The basis of consumer spending is on necessities, such as food, shelter and clothing that individuals need to maintain a certain quality of life. As students graduate from the Culinary Training Program and find employment, their spending ability will increase. The budgeting skills they have learned as part of their life skills training will allow them to make wise purchases of their necessities. Full-time employment can provide health insurance benefits. Opportunities for advancement can increase the financial resources of the individual, leading to the ability to build a savings account, more spendable income, and homeownership. Results from a class of 12 students:

  • 12 graduates from the Culinary Job Training Program
  • 100%  job placement rate
  • 80%  job retention rate after three months of employment
  • Over $12.75 per hour average starting wage
  • Earning over $318,240 in wages in one year ($12.75/hr x 40 x 52 x12)
  • Cost of training $72,000 (6,000 per student x 12 students)
  • The annual compounded rate (ROI) = 342%  ($318,240 - $72,000/$72,000x100) ROI = % (yearly wage – cost of training/cost of trainingx100)


Recipient: Town of Windermere

Recipient Address: 614 Main St. Windermere, FL 34786

Amount Requested: $760,000

Project Description: Town of Windermere Safe Route to School Project Phase 1. The purpose of this request is to accelerate the implementation of projects that support walking, cycling, and golf cart travel within the Town and to adjacent areas, while improving multi modal safety. This phase in particular will allow residents to safely use the pathways to get to civic, recreations, commercial, and educational facilities. Windermere Elementary Students use this particular area for direct access to the school.