ORLANDO, Fla. -- The OneOrlando Fund has raised $23 million and counting for Pulse nightclub shooting victims, but experts say the donations won’t be enough to completely offset medical and other expenses incurred from the mass shooting.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that as generous as the donations have been to aid victims of the June shooting that left 49 dead, it won’t be enough to cover all of their medical bills, long-term care and lost wages. In addition to worrying about their recovery, victims are now concerned by mounting medical bills and normal routine living expenses because many are still in treatment and have not yet been able to return to work.
“There are people who are not able to work, who are in wheelchairs or using walkers, and what they’re going to need financially is something that is always on their mind right now,” Terry DeCarlo, executive director of The Center - the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center of Central Florida, told the Sentinel. “Every person has to think if I’m out of work, if I’m not getting a paycheck, what am I going to do?”
Ted Miller, a researcher on the cost of gun violence, said the loss of future earnings for the survivors, including those now disabled, could easily reach $20 million. He also estimates another $16 million for costs associated with quality of life for the survivors.
Officials of the OneOrlando Fund are still trying to figure out how to breakdown distribution of the $23 million between the families of the deceased and the survivors. Even then the money will not be distributed until sometime next month.
In the meantime, Orlando and Orange County have partnered with the Heart of Florida United Way to establish the Orlando United Assistance Center, which has set out to help survivors with immediate needs such as rent, car payments and utilities. The Florida Victim Compensation Fund also has stepped in to help with medical bills, mental health expenses and lost wages, the report says. Victims who suffered catastrophic injuries can receive up to $50,000 while other survivors can receive up to $15,000.
According the Sentinel, the Florida Victim Compensation Fund has paid out $287,700 in Pulse-related claims so far.