As part of the city’s budget for 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office released two Request for Proposals (RFPs) totaling 7.5 million dollars to combat violence induced trauma in high-risk neighborhoods, as well as an expansion for community-based street outreach programs. The funds are meant to help continue the city’s reduction in crime rates and represents a seven-fold increase in funding over last year.
The funds are part of the 11.5 million dollars in RFPs that the Mayor has slotted for investment in community-based public safety programs as part of her violence reduction strategy. $6 million will be distributed through the Chicago Department of Public Health to finance a non-profit agency that will provide training in violence obstruction to a collective of street outreach organizations. They will also be provided with access to various City services and law enforcement agencies. Allocation of these funds will increase access to crisis intervention and de-escalation services for those identified as high risk. “These unprecedented investments represent the first step towards ensuring that the outreach teams on the ground every day in our communities have the resources to sustain their efforts towards keeping our residents safe,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
The remaining RFP for $1.5 million is slated towards eliminating gaps in services between communities by providing programs that incorporate trauma-informed victim support with community outreach. These investments will help the city move towards creating a system of programs that address the needs of those impacted by gun violence. Services will include expedited crisis intervention, trauma counseling, access to mental health services, food assistance, housing, and other ongoing support.
To ensure these investments go to the communities that are most in need, the Mayor’s office collected data to determine which areas around the city would benefit most from the services. Fifteen communities: Auburn Gresham, Austin, Chicago Lawn, East Garfield Park, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, New City, North Lawndale, Roseland, South Lawndale, South Shore, West Englewood, West Garfield Park, and West Pullman all reported the highest levels of violence in the last three years and have been highlighted as priority communities in need.
A new Office of Violence Reduction has been created to affirm emphasis on the Mayor’s citywide violence reduction strategy. It will be overseen by Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Susan Lee, with Norman Kerr serving as the Director of Violence Reduction. Lee will ensure the proper rollout of the initiatives, services, and interventions created by these investments. The office will work in conjunction with various departments and agencies to generate quantity by organizing and coordinating information and services with violence interrupters, street outreach organizations, and neighborhood clubs throughout the city.