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$20.3 million to support SNUG Street Outreach programs in 14 communities across New York


Fri, Dec 15th 2023 11:20 am

Hochul: Grant awards to 16 different community-based organizations and trauma centers fund outreach workers, hospital responders, social workers and case managers who are credible messengers and work to reduce shootings, save lives

√ SNUG uses public health approach to address gun violence: identify source, interrupt transmission, and treat individuals, families and communities affected by violence

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced $20.3 million to support SNUG Street Outreach programs in 14 communities across New York state.

Her team said, “These grant awards to 16 different community-based organizations and hospitals fund outreach workers, hospital responders, social workers and case managers who are credible messengers and work to reduce shootings and save lives.

“New York state’s SNUG program uses a public health approach to address gun violence by identifying the source, interrupting transmission, and treating individuals, families and communities affected by the violence.”

Hochul said, “Public safety is my top priority, and we are working to reduce gun violence in the communities most affected by it. With these funds, we are expanding on the proven success of the SNUG program, which has been a key component of my administration’s efforts to drive down incidents of gun violence and tackle this issue across the state.”

The $20.3 million will fund staff, programs, services, equipment and technology for the SNUG locations and includes $254,000 to support DCJS’s administration of the program during the 2024 calendar year. The program supports 178 full-time and 43 part-time employees. Local grantees include:

√ Buffalo – Erie County Medical Center: $2,829,677

√ Niagara Falls – Community Missions of Niagara Frontier: $626,076

Hochul’s fiscal year 2024 budget included a total of $347 million to fund a comprehensive plan to further drive down gun violence and improve community safety. In addition to the $20.3 million for the SNUG Street Outreach program, the budget included $36.2 million for the state’s nationally recognized Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative and $17 million for its unique network of 11 crime analysis centers.

Her team said, “This multifaceted approach has contributed to significant progress in the state’s efforts to address gun violence, which increased in New York and other states throughout 2020 and 2021. SNUG programs work in 13 communities that also participate in GIVE and, through Dec. 3, 2023, those communities reported 692 shooting incidents with injury, a 36% reduction when compared to same timeframe in 2021. All 20 police departments participating in the GIVE initiative collectively reported double-digit declines in shooting incidents with injury and the number of individuals killed by gun violence during the same timeframe: 36% decreases in both the number of individuals killed (130 vs. 204) and shooting incidents with injury (742 vs. 1,155).

“SNUG also operates in the Bronx and New York City, which are experiencing similar declines in gun violence. The New York City Police Department reported a 25% reduction in shooting incidents (911 vs. 1,216) and a 27% decrease in individuals injured by gunfire (1,071 vs. 1,472), through Dec. 3, 2023, versus the same time last year.

Administered and supported by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, the SNUG Street Outreach program employs outreach workers, social workers, case managers and hospital responders who work in neighborhoods experiencing elevated levels of gun violence in Albany, the Bronx, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mt. Vernon, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, Rochester, Troy, Utica, Wyandanch and Yonkers. The program also embeds social workers at trauma centers in Albany, Rochester and Syracuse who work with individual and families in the aftermath of a violent incident to offer support, services and connect them to the SNUG program in their communities for additional assistance.

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “SNUG teams are specially trained to address gun violence at its source by mediating conflict, preventing retaliation and providing support to those affected by it. They are change agents, working day in and day out to reduce and prevent violence, strengthen the lives of individuals and families, and help make communities whole.”

Hochul’s team said, “SNUG staff are credible messengers because they live in the communities in which they work, and some have been involved with the criminal justice system or lost loved ones to violence. They work with teens and young adults to detect and defuse disputes before they escalate; respond to shootings to prevent retaliation through mediation and assist family members of those who have been injured or killed; and mentor youth involved with the program to set goals and connect them with educational and job opportunities as well as other services. The programs also engage the community, religious organizations and clergy, and local businesses by sponsoring anti-violence marches, job fairs, block parties, sporting events and other community gatherings.

“Social workers and case managers provide those affected by gun violence or other crimes in the communities with trauma-informed counseling, support groups, advocacy and assistance with filing victim compensation applications with the state Office of Victim Services, and referrals for other services as needed; and offer support and guidance to SNUG team members.”

The press release added, “Comprehensive training, site visits and support from DCJS set SNUG apart from other community-based violence interruption programs across the state and country. New staff must complete 40 hours of training and new supervisors complete 32 hours of management training. All staff must also complete 40 hours of professional development training annually. This ongoing training and support help ensure that the program operates consistently across all SNUG sites despite being operated by different community-based organizations and hospitals.

“The Division of Criminal Justice Services provides critical support to all facets of the state’s criminal justice system, including, but not limited to: training law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals; overseeing a law enforcement accreditation program; ensuring Breathalyzer and speed enforcement equipment used by local law enforcement operate correctly; managing criminal justice grant funding; analyzing statewide crime and program data; providing research support; overseeing county probation departments and alternatives to incarceration programs; and coordinating youth justice policy.” 

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