ORLANDO, Fla. – Advocates at the Orlando United Assistance Center are hoping to keep their doors open as long as they can for survivors who are still suffering from the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016.
Ray Larsen is the vice president of the Heart of Florida United Way and also manages the Orlando United Assistance Center. He describes the facility as a safe haven for those in need of counseling and victims dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Last year, we had over 100 people come. And individuals come oftentimes from multiple meetings, addressing different needs, and sometimes for counseling," Larsen said.
The facility is running out of federal funds but Larson said they are already receiving some financial help from Orange and Osceola counties, which could keep the center open until December.
He was hoping the City of Orlando would grant them $85,000. On Monday, commissioners approved the funding, which will allow the Orlando United Assistance Center to continue its current staffing level and services through Dec. 31, 2019.
"Here's a concrete sign of how much our community cares and wanting to be there for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy," Larsen added.
Efforts are also sponsored by the Central Florida Cares Health System and the the Florida Department of Children and Families.