Delay in Vegas Strong Fund distribution frustrates survivors - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Delay in Vegas Strong Fund distribution frustrates survivors

Survivors of 1 October said they're frustrated with delays in the distribution of funds raised. Survivors of 1 October said they're frustrated with delays in the distribution of funds raised.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

More than three months after 1 October, many survivors have still struggled to get back on their feet. The Las Vegas victims fund is scheduled to be distributed in March, but in the meantime, many were counting on the Vegas Strong Fund. The fund collected around $12 million, but only around $14,000 of that went out, and then funding stopped.

Heather Gooze spent Oct. 1 crouched beside the body of 23-year-old Jordan Mclldoon, refusing to leave his side.

"Since Oct. first, I’m not the same person I was. I don’t know what my new normal is," Gooze said.

Since, she said she's found purpose in trying to help other survivors from that night.

"We relive that night every single day. For us it was yesterday. Unfortunately, you can’t pay your bills with broken promises," Gooze said.

Those “broken promises,” she said, are from the handlers of the Vegas Strong Fund.

"I personally know people that are living on couches and I know somebody that’s living in their car because they’re just not there," Gooze said.

She said the fund was supposed to go to people who didn’t qualify for the Las Vegas Victims Fund and people who did qualify, but needed help sooner than the March distribution. However, Heather said after cutting checks for just 12 people, the money stopped coming.

"They got an email that said, 'Sorry, we regret to inform you that we've decided that we need to work on the process or we're not comfortable distributing the funds right now.'" "How do you do this to them? You’ve just re-victimized every single victim, every single survivor of Route 91."

Heather said it's moments like this that put everyone back five or six steps as they try to recover.

"A lot of us feel like people don’t care about us anymore. They tell us to get over it. They tell us to move on. But when you’re two months behind on your bills, it’s hard to move on," Gooze said. "The money is sitting there, so help us."

Chairman of the fund, Jan Jones Blackhurst, was not available for comment the Wednesday, but she said she did want to pass a message along that they’re holding a board meeting the second week of Jan. to figure out how to distribute the funds.

Copyright 2018 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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