Lawmakers ask for $600K to help keep Pulse assistance center open

Video: Lawmakers ask for $600K to help keep Pulse assistance center open

ORLANDO, Fla. — Two state lawmakers say time is running out to prevent an assistance center for Pulse survivors and victims' families from shutting down.

For more than three years, the Orlando United Assistance Center has provided everything from counseling to financial help to the survivors and victim's families impacted by the Pulse tragedy.

But the $8.5 million federal grant that funded the center ran out three months ago. Since then, the center has been operating out of donated space, and relying on temporary funds that end in two weeks.

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The temporary funds have come from the city of Orlando, Orange and Osceola counties, the Heart of Florida United Way and the Central Florida Foundation.

"We fear that without help from the state, this resiliency center that has been a lifeline for pulse families and survivors may close," said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando).

Smith said many of the people helped at the center are uninsured or underinsured.

He said that's why he and fellow Democrat Anna Eskamani have co-sponsored a bill that would provide the assistance center with nearly $600,000 to keep services going.

“We are filing that appropriations request with the House of Representatives, in the hope that we can get state leaders to support funding the Orlando United Assistance Center, the Pulse resiliency center in Orlando, to continue supporting this community that is still struggling to rebuild their lives,” Smith said.

Smith is also requesting $1 million in state funding for the UCF Restores treatment program that helps people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lawmakers are scheduled to begin discussions on both requests when the next session begins in January.