Orange County 2023 Year in Review: Taking it to the Next Level

Community & Services

From investing in its residents and workforce, to improving public transit and taking a stand against gun violence, Orange County made significant strides in 2023. “As a community, we’ve worked together to tackle challenges and position ourselves for a brighter future for all who call this great county home,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings.

Highlights include:


Improving Central Florida’s transportation infrastructure continues to be one of the Mayor’s top priorities. The County faces over $20 billion in unmet needs for critical pedestrian, bicycle and motorist safety improvements as well as transit enhancements. To address this, the Mayor introduced an Accelerated Transportation Safety Program to the Board of County Commissioners, which approved spending $100 million in existing revenue over a five-year period to fund a variety of projects.

The funding includes $55 million for lighting, sidewalk and traffic safety improvements and $45 million toward improving bus stops and adding shelters as well as increasing the frequency of LYNX bus service. Orange County also helped fund the Pine Hills LYNX Transfer Center, which will provide downtown connection service for Pine Hills residents.

Affordable Housing

Another big concern in the region is the lack of affordable housing, and the Housing for All Task Force that Mayor Demings convened in 2019 remains committed to addressing the ongoing crisis.

In 2023, the County approved financing for two new affordable housing projects – Barnett Villas, a 156-unit affordable rental housing complex to be built within walking distance of Barnett Park, and the purchase and rehabilitation of Silver Lakes Villages Apartments, an existing 104-unit apartment complex in the Rosemont area that will provide housing for low-income seniors.

Public Safety

In the spring of 2023, Mayor Demings reconvened the Citizens Safety Task Force after a lone gunman shot four innocent people claiming three lives. The task force met 20 times over three months and came up with 16 new recommendations to prevent and reduce gun violence and violent crime. The Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendations, which

include expanding funding for the Credible Messenger initiative. Credible Messengers are “streetwise” individuals who serve as mentors for youth in underserved and disenfranchised communities.

The County is also working to implement a crisis response team that will respond immediately to shootings, as well as a Community Violence Intervention Program to focus on individuals most at risk to be involved in a shooting.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Orange County recently celebrated 20 years of collaboration with the region’s local hospitals in operating the Belvin Perry, Jr. Central Receiving Center, which provides a single point of entry into the mental health and substance abuse system for adults experiencing a crisis and has led to a reduction in recidivism of criminal behavior and fewer individuals being booked directly into our jail.

Workforce Development

In 2022, Orange County partnered with UCF Global, Rosen Hotels and the Aeras Foundation to launch ESOL as a first-of-its-kind pilot English language training program for hospitality workers. The program proved so successful with hoteliers; it will now become a fully funded program within the I-Drive Community Redevelopment Area. ESOL not only increases the opportunity for growth for hundreds of hospitality industry workers, but also benefits employers at the center of our world-class tourism industry.


In 2023, the Orange County Multicultural Center was opened in the heart of Pine Hills. The 17,000-sq.ft. facility is the first of three phases, and by 2026, it will be joined by a Senior Center and Center for Innovation and Design. The facility serves as a hub for the arts, culture and innovation for the entire community and is also home to non-profit organizations that provide job training, community resources and senior and youth programming.

“We overcame challenges and realized some important goals in 2023,” said Mayor Demings. “And now we’ll take that momentum into 2024 and continue to work towards further improving quality of life for all Orange County residents.”

For more information, watch the 2023 Orange County Year in Review. 


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