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Jeronimo Gonzalez gets his hair cut for free in October 2020 outside of the DeSoto Cares Homeless Services facility on South Orange Avenue in Arcadia thanks to hairstylist Vickey Avila.

Staff Report

WILLISTON — Gov. Ron DeSantis divvied out $22 million in federal grants to 15 Florida counties, saying it will assist with expanding internet, improving community centers and adding to small business grants.

About $1 million is being sent to DeSoto County, where it is earmarked to help the homeless population.

The total of $1,020,000 will “support DeSoto County’s homeless population by providing transitional housing, running water and hygiene services,” the governor’s office noted in a news release.

DeSantis made the announcement in Williston, southwest of Gainesville. The money comes through the federal Community Development Block Grant – CV program.

“We have been responsible, we have protected people’s freedoms, and we have kept the economy open in Florida,” DeSantis said in the news release. “Today we are proud to announce another $22 million for workforce development and infrastructure across Florida. Communities across the state are going to benefit from this funding and their growth will help us continue to succeed as a state.”

The funds are administered by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, but CDBG-CV funds are federally awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the news release states.

The are “designed to help local governments prepare for, prevent, or respond to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic,” the news release notes. It notes the projects must be considered critical and must “primarily benefit low- and moderate-income residents.”

Among the other communities receiving funds were Key West, gaining $4.3 million “to reconstruct and improve a homeless shelter that will provide around-the-clock services to community members in need” and Tampa, granted $1.47 million “to fund the City’s Creative Academic Readiness Education (CARE) to prepare toddlers for pre-K and kindergarten.”

For more information, visit FloridaJobs.org/CDBG-CV.


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