ORLANDO | The Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC), established in the immediate aftermath of the Pulse shooting to assist those directly impacted by the tragedy, announced Feb. 7 that it is seeking comment and feedback on its services from the immediate family members of those 49 individuals who lost their lives at Pulse, as well as survivors and first responders.
The research is being conducted by community volunteers Dr. Erica Fissel of the University of Central Florida and Zachary Murray, M.S., and is being carried out, according to OUAC in a press release, to find what areas the organization can best provide support, resources and hope for a community continuing to heal.
“We have learned from other communities affected by mass violence that victims’ needs change in many ways over time,” said Jeff Hayward, President & CEO of Heart of Florida United Way, in a statement. “As we look toward the future, we must continue to evolve the OUAC to anticipate, understand and meet those needs. While we understand this is an incredibly difficult, taxing and emotional conversation, our hope is that every voice within the impacted community will be heard through this research and that we can determine how to best serve this community moving forward.”
Fissel and Murray will be leading the effort to directly connect with the individuals and families which OUAC has been serving. The research will consist of anonymous surveys conducted online as well as confidential in-person focus groups where participants will be able to freely share concerns, questions, suggestions and feedback. OUAC says that participation in the research is completely voluntary and will provide mental health services throughout the duration of the research.
OUAC is a collaboration between the Heart of Florida United Way, City of Orlando, Orange County Government, Osceola County Government and the Central Florida Foundation. Since its inception, OUAC services have evolved over time – from family reunification to the Family Assistance Center at Camping World Stadium to its current, centralized location in downtown Orlando offering services to aid in the physical and emotional healing of those directly affected.
For more information or to request a survey, please contact the OUAC at (407) 500-HOPE. You can learn more about the OUAC at OrlandoUnitedAssistanceCenter.org.