State Announces $113 Million in Funding for Anti-Violence Work

Governor Pritzker announced the launch of $113 million in funding for community organizations working on violence prevention in Illinois. These grant applications are part of a series of funding opportunities aimed at reducing firearm violence in Illinois.

“This is an unprecedented effort to stop the cycle of violence in our communities and invest resources in the communities where they are needed most said Governor Pritzker, from expanding summer jobs to investing in behavioral health programs and youth development. We are bringing historic levels of funding to proven programs that prevent violence and keep people safe.”

Funds are available in neighborhoods that have experienced concentrated firearm violence-26 in Chicago and 16 in the suburbs and downstate Illinois. Community based organizations that provide services in eligible communities are encouraged to apply for funding. Free IDHS resources including navigation and technical assistance programs, and webinars are available AT WWW.DHS.illinois.gov/grants.

In November 2021, The Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFVP) was created as a result of the Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA). The purpose of the act was to create a comprehensive approach to violence prevention. One of the solutions addresses violence prevention with increased community engagement through the OFVP. Funding is divided between technical assistance and support, community convenors and programs focused on youth development, violent prevention, violence prevention, and high-risk youth intervention.

Chris Patterson, Assistant Secretary of EP has a deep understanding of what those impacted communities need. A victim of gun violence himself, and a former resident of Cabrini Green, he grew up in the same environment filled with violence and trauma. For the last 12 years, Patterson has collaborated with community organizations and assisted in violence prevention programs. he says his lived experience directly correlates to his current job.

“Having been impacted by violence, I lost both of my brothers to violence. I understand the questions. How do you get people off the corner? Is it just about getting a job? It’s about bringing in key experts into the conversation, but also about having that network. I feel like with this administration, we have the best minds at the table as it pertains to violence reduction work.”

Grace B. Hou, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services says it is important to know that funding from the government is available. “We want new partners and have more resources we want to allocate. It is important that community organizations know their resources available to do work in their own communities.”  Hou continued saying, “it’s not just about street outreach, its victim services and case management. If an organization can’t do all three, they can partner with another and apply together.”

While other politicians and legislators push for more law enforcement to deal with violence, The Pritzker administration says working with a “hand in hand” approach with law enforcement provides more positive outcomes. Funding for anti-violence prevention did not impact the budgets of law enforcement. Chris Patterson said, “we worked with officers who said we can’t do this alone. We can have a strong police force, but we also can have the other tools communities need to survive.”

As Illinois heads into Memorial Day and warmer months. Hou says that the state continues to invest in more programs, focusing on summer jobs, youth development, and academic support. Additionally, the administration is launching a statewide series of community roundtables. conversations will take place in Rockford, Champaign, Peoria, and East St. Louis, with local community advisors, faith-based leaders, and elected officials.

To apply for funding, visit www.dhs.illinois.gov/rpsa.

 

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