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Orlando United Assistance Center, Formed For Pulse Victims, Gets 3 Months Of Funding

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
The temporary memorial at the site of the Pulse nightclub.

The center formed to help victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting get access to services will receive funding through the end of the year.

The Orlando United Assistance Center was given more than $85,000 by the Orlando City Council Monday. The funding will keep the center open through the end of 2019. The $1.9 million used to fund the center was set to run out at the end of the month.

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said it’s critical to have Spanish-speaking counselors available who are culturally sensitive and LGBTQ affirming.

“This is very important work that continues,” Sheehan said. “People don’t realize when a mass shooting happens in a community, it doesn’t go away overnight. Other people might move on with their lives, but these victims don’t.”

Christopher Cuevas is executive director of QLatinx. He said it’s important to have resources available for Pulse survivors more than three years after the shooting left 49 dead.

“There are individuals who are just now coming sort of out of the shadows and are asking for help, and it’s critical that this sort of service be made available to them,” Cuevas said.

The future of the center past 2019 is unclear, with Heart of Florida United Way officials seeking money from local governments.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.