Community organizations working to prevent gun violence will soon get a boost in funding from the state.
“We will do what it takes, individually and collectively to address the immediate violence on our streets,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker
Pritzker laid out the “Reimagine Public Safety” plan which includes $50 million in community-based grants for the 2022 fiscal year. The governor hopes to get $100 million more for 2023 and 2024. That funding comes as Chicago remains on track to have one of its deadliest years since 2,000. According to the latest CPD crime numbers there have been 678 homicides so far this year, the most we’ve seen since 2017, and more than 3,030 shooting incidents. The Governor and lawmakers who drafted the plan call it an “evidence-based and data driven approach” to fighting gun violence.
“The idea of being able to target it and focus on that (firearm violence) and be able to have a holistic approach I think will be necessary and important after what has been a very difficult year here in Chicago,” said Sen. Robert Peters who sponsored the “Reimagine Public Safety Act.” “A lot of people and a lot of young people are particularly feeling an extreme level of trauma and pain and we need to step out in front of it.”
The violence strategy is said to focus on four key elements including high-risk youth intervention programs, violence prevention services, youth development programs, and trauma recovery services for young people. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority played a key role in gathering the data that led to the plan.
“We know that the root cause of violence is poverty as well as systemic racism. It comes from disinvestment, disenfranchisement as well as just historical oppression. And so we have to right that wrong. We have to as a nation correct the societal ills that actually criminalize people and look at public safety through a very narrow lens of criminalization, arrest and incarceration. We have to build our communities,” said Delrice Adams, acting ICJIA executive director.
The extra money for community organizations comes from federal and state funding. The state will begin issuing notices of funding opportunities for qualified organizations by the end of the year. Pastor Corey Brooks, the founder of the nonprofit Project H.O.O.D. which does outreach work in Woodlawn and Englewood says he plans to apply for the funding when he can.
“It’s going to allow us if we’re awarded those funds to be able to one hire more individuals who work at the street level to help maintain the violence to make sure that we keep it below where the rest of the city is as far as we’re concerned,” Brooks said. “Those funds are very necessary for organizations like ours to build capacity and keep our work going so that we decrease the violence in our neighborhood.”