11-1-05 - The Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) announced on Monday that it has awarded a $50,000 grant to the City of Bonham for repairing portions of the city’s civic center, a rehabilitated 1950’s era National Guard Armory, which serves as a designated American Red Cross shelter for the city and Fannin county.
The repairs will enhance the center’s ability to provide improved shelter to evacuees such as those sheltered from Hurricane Katrina. The shelter will be available for future disasters as part of the city, county, and region, and state disasters as part of the city’s emergency management plan. The funding is being awarded through the agency’s special $1 million Texas Public Shelter Improvements program, established by ORCA on September 6, 2006 to assist rural Texas cities and counties providing shelter to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"Rural communities struggled to shelter disaster victims in available public and private facilities following Hurricane Katrina. Many of these facilities were inadequate to accommodate large numbers of people for an extended period of time,” said Charles S. (Charlie) Stone, Executive Director of ORCA. “We are pleased to offer this assistance in conjunction with services being delivered by other Texas State agencies."
Grants from ORCA’s Shelter program provide a maximum of $50,000 per shelter for improvements and renovations to address emergency shelter needs related to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, such as water/wastewater improvements, plumbing, restroom facilities, electrical, communication and HVAC. Funding is being provided on a “first-come, first-serve” basis to local government applicants representing rural Texas cities and counties, which are defined as cities under 50,000 in population and counties under 200,000 in population. Priority for the funding is given to applicants within Texas planning regions contiguous with the Texas-Louisiana border, including Ark Tex Council of Governments (COG), East Texas COG, Deep East Texas COG and South East Texas Regional Planning Commission.
ORCA’s Shelter program funding is being made available through the agency’s Texas Community Development Program’s Disaster Relief/Urgent Need Fund, which is available to rural communities and counties officially declared disaster areas by either the Governor of the state of Texas or the President of the United States. Providing this assistance is key to successful recovery efforts in rural communities who have tapped out their funding options from other resources.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program is the funding source for ORCA’s Disaster Relief/Urgent Need program.
ORCA's door is always open for your comments and suggestions regarding the agency, or rural issues in general. Contact ORCA at P.O. Box 12877, Austin, Texas 78711. Phone: 512-936-6701 Toll free: 800-544-2042 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 512-936-6776. On the web: www.orca.state.tx.us
ORCA is governed by a nine-member Executive Committee as listed below.
Member City County Phone
David Alders Nacogdoches Nacogdoches 936-569-1284
Nicki Harle Baird Callahan 325-676-0329
Carol Harrell Jefferson Marion 903-665-2700
William Jeter Bryan Brazos 713-688-6262
Wallace Klussmann Fredericksburg Gillespie/Llano 325-247-3233
Lydia Saenz Carrizo Springs Dimmit 830-876-9779
Ike Sugg San Angelo Tom Green 325-658-9711
Patrick Wallace Athens Henderson 903-676-1191
Michael Waters Abilene Taylor 325-670-2104
ORCA was created by the 77th Legislature to facilitate and focus the State’s health, economic development, and community development programs targeting rural communities in Texas. ORCA's programs and services support health care delivery in rural Texas, and address rural community planning activities, and housing and public facility needs such as sewer, water system, road, drainage improvements, and disaster relief funds. ORCA is the door to Texas government for rural citizens.