Family assistance center opens for Gilroy shooting survivors

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- Victims of the shootings at the Gilroy Garlic Festival now have a place to go to receive help and support.

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Officials have set up a Family Assistance Center at Rucker Elementary School. They wanted to create one central spot for victims so they don't have to make multiple stops as they seek help.
"Whether they saw the shooter or not, whether they were there or had a family member who was there-this is a place where they can seek help," said Adam Flores who is a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County. The victim unit at the DA's office created the center along with help from other agencies like the FBI and the Red Cross.

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They will offer counseling at the center but they will also give financial help. Officials will show people how to apply for help from the California Victim Compensation Board, which can cover a number of expenses.

"Things like counseling services. We help for therapy with the therapist of their choice. We also help pay for relocation assistance, medical expenses that results from the crime, funeral and burial costs in some cases," said Sylvia Mata, the victim's services unit supervisor at the DA's office.

They even have a support dog on hand. Odie will offer comfort as victim's face the trauma of the shootings.

"They can provide a calming effect for victims and for children. We will be asking victims to complete some forms that may trigger some thoughts and memories. It will be helpful to have a dog here to provide a calming presence," said Mata.

If you were at the festival but don't think you need emotional support, experts ask you to reconsider.

"It may take some time for them to feel the effects, so we encourage anyone who was there to come here because even in the process you may realize how much this has effected you," said Flores.

RELATED: Gilroy community comes together in separate vigils to honor shooting victims

The center is open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day this week at Rucker Elementary School in Gilroy. Media is not allowed inside the center so victims can be assured they will have privacy.

The Gilroy Foundation has established a special fund for victims of Sunday's shooting.

Get the latest stories, photos and videos on the deadly Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

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