BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday announced the city will spend $10 million on expanding its community violence intervention ecosystem, in which violence is prevented through community and grassroots efforts.
The mayor was joined by the White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Safe Streets Baltimore, Baltimore-area hospital system partners, and other community partners in making the announcement.
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Baltimore is using $10,025,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for the expansion. The city has a $641 million share of ARPA funding.
Mayor Scott previously announced $50 million in ARPA funding for violence prevention efforts over the next three years.
“We know that in order to reduce violence, Baltimore’s capacity to transform conflict positively and reduce violence must drastically expand,” Scott said. “Community Violence Intervention is a nationally-acclaimed and implemented strategy that is proven to save lives and produce sustainable outcomes for communities experiencing devastating levels of violence.”READ MORE: Maryland Weather: A Cold Front Sweeps In As Severe Thunderstorm Watch Ends
Scott said establishing the ecosystem is a critical part of his Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan’s approach to breaking the cycle of violence by addressing it as a law enforcement issue and a public health epidemic.
The investment includes funding to adjust violence intervention program Safe Streets Baltimore. The Mayor’s Office has conducted a review of the program’s ten locations, and will make adjustments that prioritize outreach worker safety, training and development, and program efficacy.
Three Safe Street workers have lost their lives to violence themselves, one of the workers, DaShawn McGrier, lost his life in a triple shooting three months ago.
The investment is to issue a minimum of 30 contracts with partner organizations to:
- Establish contracts with trusted grassroots organizations engaged in violence intervention, like We Our Us, and stand up school-based violence intervention programs where needed.
- Build stronger partnerships and coordination with Baltimore-area hospital partners to provide immediate support to gunshot victims in the hospital to prevent retaliation and re-victimization
- Expand intensive life coaching services to men over 25, who are disproportionately at the center of violence. The city has partnered with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. to provide intensive life coaching services to this demographic
- A focus on victim services with specific attention paid to survivors of gun violence and trauma that can lead to re-victimization. This includes but is not limited to protection, emergency relocation assistance, housing, mental health, and employment services.
- Organizations that will partner with the city on coordinated neighborhood stabilization response before or after traumatic events occur in a neighborhood, like major law-enforcement takedowns which leave power vacuums in communities and police-involved shootings.