Budget provides for Pulse tragedy survivors, housing for homeless LGBTQ youth
Image via AP.

pulse memorial
Money is also going to Central Florida mental health services, human trafficking response.

Line item appropriations in the 2021 budget bill include money for counseling for Pulse tragedy survivors and for a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth, Sen. Linda Stewart announced Tuesday.

Stewart, an Orlando Democrat, tallied nearly $2.3 million in local project appropriations to help vulnerable populations in Central Florida, through housing, food assistance, after school programs, services, and even Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to a Winter Park nature trail.

“By funding these projects, we’ll help serve many of our most vulnerable populations. Providing housing and health services to our LGBTQ+ community, counseling for human trafficking victims, and expanding access to nutritious foods are just a few of the great impacts these dollars will have in our community,” Stewart stated in a news release.

Top on her list is $750,000 to help the Zebra Coalition’s Youth Housing Project for the construction of transitional housing for homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

The budget bill also includes $150,000 for the Orlando United Assistance Center, run through Orlando’s LGBT+ Center. The money will help continue counseling and case management services the center provides to survivors and others traumatized by the 2016 mass murder at Pulse nightclub, which took 49 lives, left more than 50 other people wounded, and hundreds more traumatized.

The Legislature’s budget bill was finalized and laid on the desk early Tuesday afternoon.

Other appropriations Stewart highlighted:

— $350,000 for Devereaux Advanced Behavioral Health’s services for people with mental health disorders in combination with developmental disabilities.

— $250,000 for Developing Urban Sophisticated Technocrats, providing after-school programs in economically disadvantaged areas that engage and encourage students to pursue STEM-related higher education.

— $250,000 for United Against Poverty, for improvements and expansion of capacity and outreach of the Member Share Grocery Program that provides nutritious foods to income-qualified shoppers.

— $250,000 for Gateway Orlando Economic Prosperity Initiative, to provide relief, resources, and training to businesses and residents impacted by COVID-19.

— $100,000 for Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety, to reduce pedestrian fatalities through traffic engineering and high-visibility safety solutions.

— $95,000 for the city of Winter Park to make nature trails more accessible to people with disabilities in the Mead Botanical Garden. That item was a supplemental appropriation included in the Senate’s “sprinkle” list released Monday.

— $80,000 for the Lifeboat Project, providing services to victims of human trafficking.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Ron Ogden

    April 27, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Money to combat hunger, sex trafficking, pedestrian safety. Money for GROCERIES! Thank God Biden and the Democrats have pushed through these. . . .wait, a minute. You mean these are initiatives from Republicans and dufus, devil DeSantis? No, it can’t be, not the Republicans! they don’t care! Stop it FLAPOL! This isn’t the DEMOCRATIC NARRATIVE!

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