The Board adopted a resolution
denouncing the murder of George Floyd and declaring structural racism as a “Public Health Crisis” in Orange County at its June 2 meeting. The resolution was brought forth by the Orange County Human Relations Commission.
The resolution cited statistics from the Mapping Police Violence Project that black people were three times more likely to be killed by police than white people and that 99 percent of killings by police officers did not result in criminal charges against the officer.
"We didn't even list all the people that have been killed in recent years because the list is too long," said Orange County Vice Chair Renee Price. "It's just a shame this keeps happening."
Orange County Public Health Director Quintana Stewart has declared, “Structural Racism as a Public Health Crisis in Orange County,” stating it creates a “cycle of injustice against people of color leading to trauma which ultimately affects health.”
The resolution, which passed unanimously, directs the Department of Human Rights and Relations to lead the One Orange Racial Equity Team in developing a Racial Equity Plan using the Government Alliance on Race and Equity Model and bring a first draft of the plan back to the Board in September 2020.
Board approves second round of grant funding for small businessesMore help is on the way for small businesses in Orange County. The Board of County Commissioners approved a second round of emergency small business grants to companies who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of ongoing efforts by Federal, Sta
te and local authorities to contain and minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Up to $410,000 in grants will be made available in amounts up to $5,000. Interested business owners will apply through the Orange County website.
The application will remain open
through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17. Applicants will be asked to submit supplemental materials through a secure website. These materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, for the application to be considered.
“Small businesses are the backbone of a community, and many are struggling to survive this economic crisis,” said Orange County Chair Penny Rich. “Our goal is for this grant program to help these businesses through this downturn so they can come back strong when the economy rebounds. We particularly encourage women-owned and minority-owned businesses to apply. A diverse business community strengthens the entire community.”
Businesses who have already received COVID-19 related financial assistance from either the state, federal or local governments are not eligible
to apply for this round of funding. Examples of these types of programs include Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan, Carrboro Small Business and Non-Profit Emergency Loan/Grant Fund. This doesn’t include personal loans or personal stimulus funds received.
For additional questions regarding the program and/or process, please see the Emergency Small Business Funding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Orange County website
Commissioners approve Eviction Diversion Program
The Orange County Board of Commissioners created an Eviction Diversion Program at its June 2 meeting to help eligible county residents avoid eviction as a result of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county’s unemployment rate jumped from 2.9% in February to 3.4% in March and is expected to grow higher when more recent figures are released. According to Annette Moore, Orange County Director of Human Rights and Relations, that represents about 5,000 additional people experiencing unemployment.
“As a result of that, we began to see increased calls to the Housing Helpline,” she said. “Calls increased dramatically to the Housing and Community Development Department and Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness’ Housing Helpline; from 250 calls in April to more than 650 calls in May. Requests for housing assistance through the County and Towns’ Emergency Housing Assistance Fund quadrupled.”
In January and February, the county received requests for emergency housing assistance totaling $16,426 combined. In March, the number increased to $11,218 and jumped to $48,732 in April and $71,812 in May.
The proposal was presented in partnership by three county departments: Housing and Community Development Department, Human Rights and Relations, and the Criminal Justice Resource Department. Moore said she hoped the program would be operational by the end of June.
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