CeaseFire is shuttering in two communities amid funding woes. (CureViolence/CeaseFire)
CeaseFire, the Chicago-based anti-violence group at the focus of the 2011 documentary “The Interrupters” is shutting two of its offices as funding dries up.
The organization laid off staff at its North Lawndale office in August and will close its Woodlawn office later this month now that a $1 million grant from the city of Chicago ran out, according to ABC Chicago.
Rev. Robin Hood, who worked out of Lawndale told the Sun-Times the organization is in talks with the city and “supportive” aldermen. “They’re talking now, but the problem is we should be on the ground now,” he said.
CeaseFire won the first-of-its-kind contract with the city last year when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Supt. Garry McCarthy, desperate to stop the bloody spiral of street shootings and homicides, looked for whatever solutions they could to bolster the “comprehensive strategy” to bring down citywide killings.
Hood told the Tribune, “This really should have been a two-year contract so that you can keep having constant contact with these high-risk individuals.”
Hood also said the group’s interventions have led to a dramatic drop — 75 percent — in shootings and homicides since August of last year.
“This summer we had guys that had been shooting each other actually working together. I’ve been with CeaseFire since 2002 and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Chicago police, meanwhile, have been less favorable in their assessment of CeaseFire’s impact. The Sun-Times reports when the partnership started, one ranking police source complained CeaseFire’s members — many of them former gang members and convicted felons — failed to give the department “timely information” about its mediation of gang conflicts and had “no significant success stories.”
Hood told NBC Chicago he will continue to work with or without pay. “I believe Ceasefire works. I know Ceasefire works. I’m watching it in my community.”
CeaseFire’s Englewood office will remain open, the Associated Press reports. Other offices supported by state funding will remain open as well.