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Orange County

Orange County helps non-profit build its first permanent location

I-Dignity will open its doors in December


Over the past 16 years, Orlando-based IDignity, Inc. has helped more than 30,000 local U.S. citizens, including homeless individuals, obtain lost identification documents needed to access housing, employment, bank accounts, and more.

All the while, the nonprofit organization has been without a physical address, bouncing from place to place around the community.

That will change soon thanks to help from Orange County, which is allocating $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to IDignity. The agreements were approved by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners on June 4.

The Orange County funding allocation will cover site development and other costs associated with the construction of a permanent operational headquarters for IDignity, Inc. at 1128 Atlanta Avenue in Orlando. Expected to open in December 2025, the brick-and-mortar location will include 12,000 square feet of office space and 5,000 square feet of client event space, which will be periodically available as an additional resource community.

“Without owning a stable location, IDignity has been like a traveling circus or a food truck, which causes a lot of instability and security issues,” said Michael Dippy, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit, which currently operates on the campus of Trinity Lutheran Church.

Dippy added, “The county’s allocation of funding is an extremely important and strategic investment to ensure the ongoing provision of IDignity’s essential service in this community. It shows the power of leveraging public-private partnerships in relieving unnecessary human suffering.”

According to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, it is estimated that 11% of adult U.S. citizens do not currently possess a valid form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID card.

“Having identification is so important,” Dippy said. “Without identification, you’re not going to community college or university, you can’t join the military, you can’t get employment, you can’t open a bank account. You can’t get an apartment; you can’t buy a house. You don’t have access to proper healthcare or many social services. While identification is not the be-all and end-all, it often is a foundational first step. You must clear this hurdle before you can fully participate in society.”

The funding commitment comes as Orange County celebrates the 50th anniversary of the CDBG federal grant program. Over the past five years, the program has funded the rehabilitation of more than 1,000 rental units, provided rental assistance to hundreds of households, built new community centers and health clinics, boosted the supply of affordable housing, and much more.

“CDBG has improved so many lives in Orange County,” said Mitchell Glasser, the manager of Orange County’s Housing and Community Development Division. “The program allows flexibility in the use of funds, encouraging partnerships and leveraging funding with other entities sharing our vision for equity and affordable housing. There is much to celebrate about CDBG this year.”

Orange County, Non-Profit, I-Dignity, What does I-Dignity do for the homeless?


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