A Texas state senator is working to make sure the families of the 21 Uvalde school shooting victims get the money that is being raised for them.
“We’re going to try and get them all the victim’s assistance money that the county and the city has collected for them,” Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez said. “We found in Sutherland Spring (2017 mass shooting) that those folks only got about 30% of those funds. That’s my big concern.”
There are at least three official fundraisers for the families and victims and a myriad for individual fundraisers on GoFundMe. One official fundraiser is being administered by the school district where the shooting happened. The second is being collected by the City of Uvalde, and the third is being run by the State of Texas through the OneStar Foundation website.
“We haven’t seen any of that,” Vincent Salazar, whose daughter Layla was one of the 19 fourth graders murdered in the rampage, told The Post Friday. “Robb [Elementary] has raised well over $5 million dollars. Why haven’t they released even just a small fraction to the families just to help out for now?”
Neither the City of Uvalde, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District or OneStar responded to The Post’s requests for comment on how much has been raised and when the funds will be released to the families.
“These are working class families that are making $10 an hour. They’re not college graduates. They don’t have $50,000 in the bank. They need assets now. I’m going to make sure they get those distributions,” said Gutierrez.
Salazar told The Post he hadn’t spoken to other families about what their financial situation is or whether they had received any of the money raised on behalf of their murdered children.
Funeral expenses for the victims were covered by an anonymous donor through a Uvalde funeral home and the state is currently paying for counseling services for the victims, but it’s unknown how long those services will be available. It’s also unknown if the 17 other people who were injured in the shooting but are alive would be eligible for the same funds.
“I’m still getting paid for my job. I’m still getting a paycheck. My job, H-E-B, has been helping us with food. They’ve been super helpful. I don’t know what other people’s situations are.”
Salazar said he doesn’t know when he will return to work since his wife is really struggling with their daughter’s death. It’s a decision that could be easier to make if they knew when funds would be available to them. He said no one has shared plans about how or when that might happen.
“The only thing we’ve seen is what is on our GoFundMe page,” which has raised over $120,000 said Salazar.
The GoFundMe pages have collectively amassed $11 million for the families, reported Bloomberg.
Layla’s funeral hasn’t happened yet. Between making funeral arrangements and grieving, Salazar says the families haven’t had time to track the money.
“You’re talking about a lot of fundraisers and a lot of things that are being done,” said Salazar. “Who’s keeping track of all this? Who is making sure that the families get the money? I don’t want anybody using my daughter’s name to make themselves money, and not just my daughter, but all the children.”