Northeast Florida RC Establishes Regional COAD Working Group
In the Spring of 2020, the Northeast Florida Regional Council, through its annual work program priorities, recognized the value and benefits that could be achieved if a "Regional COAD Working Group" were to be established . Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), also referred to as Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), are local networks of community and voluntary organizations that assist in disaster recovery.  These organizations often extend deep into the local communities they serve to include more traditional community non-profit organizations, the faith-based community and locally owned businesses.

Northeast Florida RC staff organized and conducted initial meetings with COAD/VOAD leadership from each Northeast Florida county. Leadership from these local organizations agreed to form a regional working group to support and grow the capabilities of local community and voluntary disaster recovery organizations. The Northeast Florida RC is providing staff support to this working group and is finalizing a workplan which reflects needs and gaps identified in a recently completed needs assessment. Council staff will begin to implement program support in professional and volunteer training and exercises, newsletters and outreach materials, grant and funding support and COAD/VOAD program development (in consultation with Florida VOAD).
 
In addition to establishing the COAD Working Group, staff shared these plans with state and federal partners at Florida VOAD and FEMA Region 4. Both partners have expressed support for the project and will provide guidance as goals and objectives are identified. Many disasters in Florida are regional in nature, communication and collaboration of the COAD Working Group will assist the region in times of greatest need.
South Florida RPC Awarded "Community Partner of the Year"

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), South Florida District Office recently announced the winners of the SBA's 2020 District and State of Florida Small Business Week Awards. Congratulations goes to the South Florida RPC for "Community Partner of the Year". This award honors any organization that assists entrepreneurs through advocacy and other efforts that raise the profile, effectiveness, health, vitality, growth, or expansion of small businesses in the SBA's South Florida District Office territory. These efforts can target specific segments of the small business population such as women, veterans, minorities, exporters, and those small firms located in rural communities.
 
"Once again, the South Florida Regional Planning Council has excelled in its endeavors to help make South Florida a better place for its citizens and small businesses. The Council continues to strive and take new steps to promote entrepreneurial growth and raise awareness about the resources that are available to our local partners. I am grateful for their continued support and economic development efforts and look forward to what the future holds." Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Chair of the South Florida RPC
 
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration has partnered with the South Florida RPC to oversee and administer a new $5.3 million CARES ACT Business Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program to alleviate sudden and severe economic dislocation caused by the coronavirus in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Designated a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development District in 1994, the South Florida RPC welcomed this new program into its lending portfolio. The program is anticipated to speed business and economic recovery from COVID-19 in South Florida, build greater economic diversity, and enhance the region's ability to prepare for and respond to future emergencies. For more information please visit the Council's website at: www.sfregionalcouncil.org and www.CARESActRLF.org.
Apalachee RPC Establishes Housing Program
The Apalachee Regional Planning Council recently established a new program area in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael. The Apalachee RPC Housing Program was formed to administer the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program (HHRP) in Calhoun County.  Program staff includes two planners that work in coordination with Calhoun County Housing Department staff. Though only seven months since its inception, the ARPC Housing Program is making great strides for housing throughout the Region and housing-related assistance in various forms is now being provided in Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, and Wakulla counties.

The HHRP, administered by Florida Housing Finance Corporation, allocated $65 million to Florida counties impacted by Hurricane Michael. Calhoun County has a total of 5,739 housing units and 43% or 2,469 units, sustained damage from the 2018 weather event. Of those, 203 units classified as "high damage" units, meaning damages totaled $30,000 or more. As a result, the county received $5,135,000 in housing recovery assistance.
 
The program will provide recovery assistance to 98 residents who have initially been determined eligible to receive housing assistance. Residents will be assisted through strategies identified by the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners in the Local Housing Assistance Plan which include: 
  • purchase assistance
  • owner occupied housing rehabilitation/repairs
  • demolition/reconstruction
  • foreclosure prevention/mortgage assistance
  • land acquisition and construction. 
Tampa Bay RPC Selected for Solar Energy Project
 
Long-lasting power outages have major impacts on communities and local economies. Leading organizations and energy agencies across the country are working to evaluate the role of solar energy and battery storage to improve local community resilience. Clear Sky Tampa Bay, an innovative project led by the Tampa Bay RPC, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as part of a collaborative research effort to develop novel applications of solar energy. 
 
The project will create a regional technical and economic framework for integrating disaster risk reduction and other resilience factors into solar-plus-storage siting and cost-benefit analyses. The Clear Sky Tampa Bay project team includes the Tampa Bay RPC, the City of Largo and Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. The new framework and technical and economic decision-support resources will enable local governments, non-profit organizations and businesses to identify potential high-value sites for installing solar energy and battery storage systems to improve public safety and disaster preparedness. Assessments may include emergency shelters, refrigerated warehouses, government buildings and other critical infrastructure.
 
"The Clear Sky project will provide information to support the integrated sustainability and resilience plans being developed by the counties and cities around the region, and will also engage local utilities," said Patrick Roff, Council member for the City Bradenton and current Chair of the Tampa Bay RPC. For more information, visit http://www.tbrpc.org/news/
Visit the FDEP Website
 
FRCA Partners Meetings Schedule 2020  
 
Listed below are the upcoming Partners Meetings hosted by FRCA throughout the year.  If you would like to attend or present at one of the Partners Meetings, please contact Denise Imbler at dimbler@arpc.org
 
December 2, 2020
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
GoToMeeting 
Contact: Denise Imbler  |  dimbler@arpc.org  |  flregionalcouncils.org