BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Safe Streets in Belair-Edison received a $100,000 grant on Wednesday from the national gun control advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety.

The grant was given to the Living Classrooms Foundation, a partner organization that helps the local violence intervention program’s operations in East Baltimore.

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In addition to funding, the Safe Streets site will get to take part in networking calls with peer organizations, receive training and gain access to data and tools from Everytown for Gun Safety.

“An issue as critical as gun violence requires a robust, proactive community-based response that prioritizes safety and saving lives,” Cheryl Riviere, Living Classrooms Foundation managing director of community safety programs, said in a statement. “This grant from the Everytown Community Safety Fund is exactly the kind of investment we need, and it will help our work to reduce gun violence to endure and expand.”

At sites across the city, Safe Streets deploys respected community leaders as violence interrupters to mediate conflicts before they turn violent. The violence interrupters also help steer residents to services such as job-training, counseling, transitional housing, and health and family services.

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In 2020, there were 661 conflict mediations in the Belair-Edison and McElderry Park neighborhoods and a 14% decline in Safe Street zones from the previous year, according to figures provided by Living Classrooms Foundation. There were four homicides in those zones that year, according to the nonprofit.

Everytown for Gun Safety created a $25 million fund to support 100 community-based intervention programs over the next five years.

“As cities continue to grapple with increased violence, it’s crucial that local violence intervention groups have the resources they need to sustain and scale their life-saving work,” Michael-Sean Spence, director of community safety initiatives at Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, said in a statement. “The pandemic has exacerbated the underlying drivers of gun violence, and we know the solutions to reducing these increases in gun violence are coming from organizations with local expertise in the communities most affected. Now is the time to double down and sustain the promising work of programs like Safe Streets!”

Everytown for Gun Safety also provides funding for Roca Baltimore, a nonprofit that enrolls at-risk young men in employment services and therapy.

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CBS Baltimore Staff