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NYS: More than $6.3 million to support victim services in communities hardest hit by gun violence


Fri, Apr 29th 2022 10:20 am

2-year grants will allow seven programs in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Albany, Erie and Onondaga counties to expand anti-gun violence work, increase services for victims & families

√ New funding announced as state marks National Crime Victims Rights' Week

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced more than $6.3 million in federal funding that will allow seven programs in Brooklyn and Manhattan and Albany, Erie and Onondaga counties to expand their anti-gun violence work and increase services for victims and families. Administered by the New York State Office of Victim Services, the two-year grants will fund outreach staff to connect with victims and families, crisis responders, licensed social workers and other staff, as well as training, equipment and emergency funding for essential items such as clothing, housing and transportation expenses.

"New York will never waiver in its commitment to ensuring that victims of gun violence and other crimes can access services wherever and whenever they need them," Hochul said. "We are taking a comprehensive approach to tackling gun violence while also ensuring all New Yorkers, no matter their race or background, are treated with dignity and respect. This funding will allow programs to expand their reach and provide individuals and families with critical help and support, including mental health services to address trauma resulting from long-term exposure to community violence."

Hochul announced the grants and issued a proclamation designating this week as National Crime Victims' Rights Week in New York.

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "OVS is proud to support these programs and the important work they are doing in communities grappling with significant increases in gun violence since the onset of the COVID pandemic. They are not only responding in the immediate aftermath of a crime, but providing long-term support and services to help individuals and families readjust to life and move forward after a traumatic event."

State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "We continue to hear loud and clear from communities that more is needed to address the devastating impact of gun violence. I commend my colleagues at the Office of Victim Services for working closely with community organizations to streamline access to this critical funding for victims of crime. These grants will help serve more New Yorkers, provide vital resources for communities, and complement programs, including SNUG Street Outreach, that DCJS supports on the ground.”

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said, "One of the best ways to reduce gun violence is by increasing the resources to experienced local organizers and groups who have the relationships to prevent violence and to deescalate dangerous situations. I am proud to deliver the over $6 million in federal funds for community violence intervention programs from Buffalo to Brooklyn to help avert incidents of gun violence before it happens by showing young people there are opportunities for a better future. New York has long been a leader in CVI, and these programs time and time again show they are extremely effective – that is why I'll keep fighting to bolster funding to these lifesaving programs to keep our communities safe."

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Over the past few years, we have witnessed a disturbing rise in violent crime across our nation and state. We must do more to combat gun violence and to support victims and their families, and this is an important step in the right direction. I look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Hochul to fight crime and keep our communities safe."

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said, "Gun violence threatens and affects all of us, especially our children. It will take an all-hands-on-deck approach to end this tragic scourge, make our streets safer and support the community members impacted by individual and collective trauma.”

Assembly member Michaelle C. Solages said, "Under the leadership of Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian Legislative Caucus, New York has prioritized utilizing trauma-informed approaches to address rising violence in our neighborhoods. Regardless of when and where violence occurs, prevention policies will enable us to reduce access to illegal firearms and enhance the overall safety of residents. Ensuring continual investments in community-based organizations will help address the root causes of violence, improve health outcomes, and break the cycle of harm in marginalized communities."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "I want to thank Gov. Hochul for supporting the great work of ECMC's SNUG program, which has a demonstrated track record of effectively using a trauma-informed approach to care for those who have either witnessed or been a victim of gun violence. Their work helps break the cycle of violence, which ruins people's lives and destroys neighborhoods. These violence prevention efforts and restorative practices are a critical component of our city's comprehensive strategy, which also employs effective law enforcement and job opportunity creation, to reduce the gun violence that is effecting cities across the nation." 

The Community Violence Intervention Act annually designates a portion of the state's federal Victims of Crime Act funding for programs serving communities hardest hit by gun violence. This investment builds upon the Office of Victim Services partnership with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, which funds social workers and case managers at 12 state-supported SNUG Street Outreach programs. The SNUG program treats gun violence as a public health issue by identifying its source, interrupting the transmission and treating it by engaging communities and connecting individuals to services and support.

Hochul's extension of executive order 211 allowed the Office of Victim Services to streamline its application process and work directly with programs interested in obtaining the funding. The following organizations will receive $6.36 million over two years:

√ Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub (Manhattan): $1.95 million

√ Elite Learners (Brooklyn): $1.5 million

√ Kings Against Violence Initiative (Brooklyn): $980,000

√ McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center (Onondaga): $670,000

√ New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (Manhattan): $580,000

√ Erie County Medical Center (Erie): $430,000

√ Trinity Alliance (Albany): $250,000

Office of Victim Services staff continue to work with other programs eligible for Community Violence Intervention Act funding and the agency is slated to award additional grants. Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub, Elite Learners, Kings Against Violence Initiative, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence are receiving OVS grants for the first time.

With the addition of those four organizations, OVS now funds 232 victim assistance programs statewide. Additional information about those programs is available through OVS Resource Connect, a user-friendly online platform that allows individuals to find help by searching for a specific concern or need, or by ZIP code or location. Since being launched in spring 2021, OVS Resource Connect has averaged about 1,000 users a month.

Hochul’s team said, “In addition to funding victim assistance programs, the Office of Victim Services provides a critical financial safety net for individuals and/or their family members, helping those who are eligible with medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, in addition to other assistance.

“To that end, OVS provided more than $18 million in financial assistance to victims of crime and their families in 2021. New York is the only state in the country with no limit on reimbursement for medical bills or counseling, which means individuals receive help for as long as they need it. Funding for crime victims' compensation is generated by fines, fees and surcharges paid by certain individuals convicted in state or federal court.”

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