Washington, DC (STL.News) Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by public safety officials and gun violence prevention advocates at the Douglass Community Center to highlight her $59 million investment in reducing gun violence and building safer neighborhoods in the Fiscal Year 2022 Fair Shot Budget proposal. These investments in Youth Safety and Building Blocks DC (BBDC), which leads the Administration’s comprehensive, public health approach to reducing and preventing gun violence, will create new opportunities and services for DC residents most at risk of gun violence.
“We don’t want people out on our streets involved in gun play. We want them involved in jobs, and school, and enjoying life with friends and family. And we know that is what our residents most at risk of violence want too,” said Mayor Bowser. “These investments in Building Blocks DC will support not just a whole-of-government approach to building safer neighborhoods, but a whole-of-community approach. This work is urgent, and by making the right investments we can save lives and send a message to our residents that, together, we can, we must, and we will do more to reduce gun violence.”
The Mayor’s #FairShot FY22 budget proposal will deliver:
- $11.4M to support returning citizens with financial assistance through community-based organizations, financial coaching, and peer navigators as they transition back into the community
- $7.8M for additional violence interrupters and $400K for additional credible messengers
- $13.8M for youth safety initiatives, including an expansion of Safe Passage, out-of-school activities for youth, and enhanced training for school resource officers
- $6.8M for DBH, DDOT, and DPW to respond to non-emergency 911 calls for mental health distress, minor traffic crashes, and parking complaints
- $5.6M to create 110 dedicated employment opportunities through the Department of Public Works for individuals at risk of gun violence
- $4.5M for DC Pathways to serve an additional 100 individuals at risk of gun violence and $4.6M to provide more wrap-around support services including Pathways Champions positions for at-risk individuals, Project Empowerment support services, intensive care coordination, housing assistance/relocation, and transportation support
- $3.4M to add 100 new slots for MPD’s cadet program
- $1.9M to expand trauma-informed mental health services
- $2.2M for temporary safe housing for residents involved in gun violence
- $1.5M for community investment grants to carry out neighborhood action plans in focus neighborhoods
The budget proposal includes a historic investment to support returning citizens with the $10 million in flexible funding to reentry service providers. The first-of-its-kind program for the District will provide funding to community-based organizations to support returning citizens based on individual needs assessments. The funds can be used to cover the expense of housing deposits, transportation needs, connectivity, and other temporary immediate expenses. The flexible funding initiative will help tackle first-hand common barriers that our returning citizens face as they work to re-establish their lives in the District.
“We know that the daily challenges that returning citizens face were further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said OVSJG Director Michelle M. Garcia. “This flexible funding, provided through community-based reentry service providers, will provide critical support to assist with reintegration, avoid homelessness, and reduce recidivism.”
The Mayor and Director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (GVP), Linda Harllee Harper, also announced that residents and community organizations can now apply for grants to support work engaging Washingtonians who are directly affected by gun violence. GVP partnered with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and Progressive Life Center on the distribution of grants within identified Building Blocks neighborhoods to assist in meeting the needs of residents.
“We are partnering with our communities, hardest hit by gun violence, in co-creating public safety. We intend to support and invest in ideas and solutions that come directly from our residents,” said GVP Director Linda Harllee Harper. “We want to support our residents who are most in need by offering services, and opportunities to those who are at highest risk for gun violence, or those who we know are involved in gun violence. Our goal is to encourage them to choose a different way. These tools provide an opportunity to streamline and expedite a diverse service delivery directly, and where it’s needed most.”
There are two types of grants:
- $5,000 mini-grants will be awarded to individuals to create activities that engage residents, leaders, and organizations in promoting public safety.
- $50,000 grants will be awarded to entities or organizations who will create innovative programs to reduce gun violence in the District of Columbia. The program should include one or more of the following: skill-building opportunities, neighborhood beautification/restoration, restorative justice support, family connectivity and empowerment, multidisciplinary arts activities, and community engagement.