New program benefits longtime homeowners
Orange County has launched a new Longtime Homeowner Assistance (LHA) Program to provide financial assistance to certain homeowners so that they and their families may remain in their homes. The Orange County Board of Commissioners initiated the LHA Program on June 15, 2021, by allocating $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to assist households affected by the 2021 countywide property revaluation. Homeowners may receive assistance in paying property tax bills if they:
- Live in Orange County;
- Have lived in their home for at least 10 years;
- Have experienced an increase in property taxes due to the 2021 tax revaluation; and
- Earn no more than 80% of the area median income
The Orange County Housing & Community Development Department began accepting applications Oct. 8. The deadline for submitting applications is Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, at 5 p.m., to allow time for processing.
Indigenous People's Day
For thousands of years, indigenous tribes and nations dwelt in the land now known as the Americas. Orange County, for example, was once the homelands to the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, who lived along the Eno River. Indigenous tribes had their own traditions and belief systems, governances and lifestyles, and art and music.
In the 15th century, indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America began experiencing frequent encounters with European explorers, and eventually, a progression of colonists. To the Europeans, this was the New World; to the Indigenous Peoples, this was home and had been so for centuries. The establishment of the United States brought many challenges--including discrimination, marginalization and trauma--and yet, Native American people have continued to fight for their civil and human rights.
Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples' Day in Orange County, in accordance with a resolution adopted in 2015 stating, "the Orange County Board of County Commissioners henceforth shall recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day to celebrate and honor the history, legacy, heritage and activism of Indigenous Peoples that have existed here since pre-European colonialism." This is an opportunity to acknowledge and embrace the thriving cultures and values of Indigenous Peoples, to reflect upon the struggles of Indigenous Peoples in this land and elsewhere, to reaffirm a commitment toward reconciliation among all Peoples, and thereby to promote the progress and advancement of civilization.
Many thanks and appreciation to members of the Tribal Council of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, who assisted me in drafting the 2015 resolution, thus authenticating the document and our effort.
Gov. Cooper visits Community School for People Under 6
On Thursday, Oct., 7, at the Community School for People Under 6 in Carrboro, Governor Roy Cooper announced a historic $805 million investment in North Carolina’s early care and learning childcare programs. The funding is from the American Rescue Plan Act and will support working families with access to high-quality, affordable childcare, and will help early childcare programs provide their teachers with higher pay and better benefits.
US Representative David Price also attended the event and spoke of the importance of intergovernmental cooperation and the critical need for early education. His 4th Congressional District includes all of Orange County, and we are grateful for his role in assuring healthy outcomes for our children and families.
Our host was Anna Mercer-McLean, the Director of the Community School for People Under 6. She explained the realities of sustaining the school in the face of a pandemic, low wages and imminent retirements among teachers. I was honored to meet Director Mercer-McLean, who has been working there since 1991, and to learn of the meritorious work of her teachers and staff members for the sake of our youngest students. Kudos!
All private, licensed early care and learning programs are eligible to apply for a grant starting Oct 11, including for-profit and not-for-profit, family childcare homes and faith-based centers. Stabilization grants may be used for a range of activities including: personnel costs; mental health supports; payments for rent, mortgage, utilities, facility maintenance, or insurance; personal protective equipment (PPE); equipment and supplies; and goods or services necessary to maintain or resume childcare. The process will be open for 18 months.
September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and Orange County BOCC has approved a proclamation designating this time as Hispanic Heritage Month in Orange County. Marlyn Valeiko read the proclamation at our Oct. 5 meeting, and subsequently translated it into Spanish, which you can find here.
If you live within the municipalities of Hillsborough, Carrboro or Chapel Hill, early voting starts Oct. 14. Election Day is Nov. 2. Check the Orange County Board of Elections website for details on dates, times and places. Please register and please vote.