Transforming Community Centers into Resilience Hubs

Under the leadership of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando City Council, the City of Orlando’s recently completed Future-Ready Master Plan identified the creation of Resilience Hubs as a key strategy to improve our community’s ability to weather disasters such as extreme heat, severe and tropical storms and hurricanes in a more equitable manner.  

Following a disaster such as one listed above, low-income residents are at particular risk for many of the negative impacts due to factors like lack of a generator to have power, air conditioning and wi-fi access. Furthermore, these impacts may be exacerbated by residing in mobile homes, lack of access to transportation or other resources to evacuate, and lack of disposable income to purchase additional supplies or shelter in hotels. 

In April 2021, the city was awarded a $2,850,000 grant by the State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Mitigation General Infrastructure Program to transform six existing community centers into Resilience Hubs. 

This funding will allow enhancements to our community centers to include electrical upgrades, adding generators and improving HVAC systems to ensure these centers can serve as Resilience Hubs so that in the recovery phase of a hurricane, residents can use the facility to charge phones, access wi-fi, apply for benefits or contact loved ones. Furthermore, these facilities act as distribution centers for sandbags, water, food or other supplies and services for residents.  

These centers are already used year-round as neighborhood centers for community building activities, fostering greater community cohesion, building trust with local government and connecting neighbors.

The following neighborhood centers will receive improvements as described below: