WASHINGTON — Justice Department grants totaling more than $3.4 billion will be made available to local victim assistance programs, including a Nevada-run program to help survivors of the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting on the Strip.
Single-year grants will be awarded by the Justice Department with funds collected through criminal fines, fees and assessments, not taxpayer dollars.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the grants are designed to help “victims walk the long and difficult road to recovery.”
The Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas left 58 dead and hundreds wounded. It is classified as the worst shooting in modern U.S. history.
Justice Department grant money for survivors of the shooting is distributed through the Nevada Victims of Crime Program.
The local program has processed nearly 4,800 applications for assistance from the Oct. 1 shooting and has paid more than $2.6 million in claims. Those eligible for assistance have until Oct. 1, 2018, to apply.
Applications are accepted at the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center. Its website is at www.VegasStrongRC.org. The center also can be reached by phone at 702-455-2433 or toll-free at 833-299-2433, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“These funds are important for addressing the needs of victims of crimes, including those impacted by 1 October,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.
The Justice Department fund was first authorized in 1984. The fund balance has grown to more than $11 billion and has become a target of the Trump administration, which sought to redirect funding to other programs in the budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins Oct. 1.
Titus said that despite the president’s attempt to “raid this funding for other purposes,” Congress has dismissed the “meddling to ensure these dollars are used as intended.”
Earlier this year, Sessions announced a $2 million grant from the Justice Department to help Nevada and local law enforcement defray the cost of overtime resulting from the mass shooting. The grant was in addition to $1 million doled out just months after the tragedy.