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"With every life lost due to gun violence, we lose a contributing piece of our future. These irreplaceable losses are tearing our communities apart," said Gov. Wolf. "Addressing gun violence at the root, at the community and neighborhood level, is critical. These organizations funded today are changing, and saving, lives."
According to the CDC, gun deaths hit an all-time high in 2020 with more than 45,000 Americans killed by firearms. With communities across Pennsylvania also seeing an increase in shootings and gun violence, Gov. Wolf is committed to addressing this crisis. Based on a recommendation by the Special Council on Gun Violence, created by an executive order in 2019, Gov. Wolf has prioritized investing in community-led gun violence prevention efforts through the VIP program.
In December, Gov. Wolf funded $15.7 million for 40 projects. Funding for this second round of grant awards was increased last week, with an additional $15 million in American Rescue Plan dollars being committed to the program.
VIP grants provide funding to local organizations for a wide range of programs focused on reducing community violence, including street outreach and violence interruption programs utilizing credible messengers; Safe Corridors/Safe Passages programs, which prevent incidents to/from school and other community centers; providing referrals to partner agencies focused on meeting basic needs of participants, including education, employment, health and other services; comprehensive pre-release and reentry programs for returning citizens; trauma-informed approaches to support victims and survivors of gun violence; as well as youth activities and mentorship.
Community College of Allegheny County, $800,000 to develop a program to reduce gun violence rates for youth in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County providing mental health and social services, transportation services to and from workforce development programs, and mentorship opportunities.
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Foundation of HOPE, $1,300,000 to support the implementation of an aftercare program with trained peer support specialists and mental health therapists to support those negatively affected by the criminal justice system in an attempt to break the cycle of incarceration and gun violence in marginalized communities.
Healthy Village Learning Institute, $150,000 to support the implementation of intensive community outreach that will train and prepare violence intervention workers to directly engage with residents and educate them on how to respond to community violence.
Berks Community Action Program, $600,000 to support a community youth outreach initiative that aims to combat poverty and engage youth in positive social and educational activities in an effort to reduce and eliminate gang involvement and gun violence.
Delaware County District Attorney, $2,000,000 to support the district attorney's group violence intervention program in the City of Chester and support other violence prevention efforts county-wide.
Making a Change Group, $149,072 to improve its current violence intervention program that works to serve young victims of gun violence and their families, and proactively mentor youth.
African Family Health Organization (AFAHO), $498,278 to support the implementation of a Safe Havens and Mentorship Program, a pilot violence intervention and prevention program for African and Caribbean immigrant and refugee boys and young men in the greater Philadelphia area.
Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia, $1,371,489 to expand its counseling center and youth violence outreach initiative to serve more Philadelphians in areas hardest hit by gun violence.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, $1,119,262 to support the continuation and expansion of its Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program which includes intensive case management, mental health therapy, and peer-led psychoeducational peer groups.
City of Philadelphia, $2,000,000 to expand the city's group violence intervention strategy which employs law enforcement and social services to engage individuals at the "highest risk" of gun violence involvement.
Concilio De Organizaciones Hispanas – El Concilio, $475,000 to support the implementation of safe haven services to 250 young adults. They'll be incorporating gun violence prevention interventions that address economic inequities through workforce development training, support services, and economic opportunities.
CORA Services- Inc, $726,432 to implement a two-tiered program that mitigates gun and group violence by empowering neighborhoods with high numbers of assaults to resolve conflicts using mediation, restorative justice, and community dialogue.
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Education Culture Opportunities (ECO) Foundation, $150,000 to support youth and young adult workforce development initiatives to help them manage emotions, actions, power, energy, and improve conflict resolution skills.
EducationWorks (PowerCorpsPHL), $2,000,000 to provide innovative paid work experiences and support services that lead to career pathway jobs for young Black and Latinx Philadelphians who experience barriers to quality employment related to court involvement, lack of postsecondary education and work experience, and the effects of poverty.
Father's Day Rally Committee, $75,000 to support the implementation of the Fathers on a Mission program to offer support to fathers that lose loved ones to gun violence. The program will provide skills and tools to overcome the trauma allowing them to create interaction with members of their families and community to share their experience.
House of Umoja, $150,000 to support the implementation of a multi-tiered outreach and youth leadership initiative that creates a violence-free zone in the Carroll Park community.
Impact Services, $1,500,000 to launch an Anti-Violence Program that connects to its existing community engagement and workforce development programming.
North Central Victim Services, $481,019 for a Positive Alternatives to Trauma and Healing Program that will target youth between the ages of 14-24 and their families living in the Strawberry Mansion and Kensington Communities who are at risk for experiencing trauma by promoting positive alternatives to violence.
Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), $1,393,106 to support the expansion of its Reentry Services Program to assist adults age 25 and older who were formerly incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system and released from prison within 180 days of program enrollment.
Philadelphia Public Department of Health, $719,019 to support a newly formed city-wide collaborative of hospital-based violence intervention programs.
Temple University Hospital Trauma Department, $961,500 to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Response to Violence project, a hospital-based violence intervention program that will aim to mitigate the effects of community violence.
University of Pennsylvania – Penn Injury Science Center & Penn Trauma, $1,267,032 to develop and evaluate a collective impact partnership to support community-engaged, evidence-based violence prevention in West/Southwest Philadelphia.
Lehigh Valley Hospital, $1,992,079 to expand its Cure Violence program in Allentown to additional communities in eastern Pennsylvania.
Luzerne County, $363,565 to support the continuation of the Luzerne County Gun Violence Reduction Task Force.
York County Commissioners, $2,000,000 to support continued collaborative violence prevention and reduction programming focused on identification of at-risk youth, connection to substance use disorder, mental health, mentorship, and community-based services.
More information about the specific VIP projects being awarded today, as well as PCCD's efforts to address gun violence generally, can be found under the Gun Violence tab on the www.pccd.pa.gov website.
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