PHILADELPHIA, July 28 – City Council and Mayor Kenney today announced the creation of a Violence Prevention and Opportunity Monitoring Group, to provide guidance and support to community organizations applying for city funding to help reduce gun violence in their neighborhoods.
City Council appropriated $20 million last month during the budget process to be used by community groups to help reduce gun violence, which is plaguing many Philadelphia neighborhoods. The Kenney administration agreed to the appropriation, and is adding $2 million to provide administrative support to the community violence prevention group process. The overall amount available will be $22 million.
The community violence prevention funding is part of an overall unprecedented total of $155 million agreed to by City Council and Mayor Kenney to be spent in the fiscal year that began July 1st on gun violence prevention programming. $68 million of that is new funding; the community violence prevention work is part of that funding stream.
In early August, the Managing Director’s Office is expected to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for community organizations to apply for funding for gun violence prevention programs. Once selected through the city’s regular contract award process, these community groups will receive ongoing support and guidance from the Violence Prevention and Opportunity Monitoring Group.
Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), was joined at today’s news conference outside City Hall by Mayor Jim Kenney and members of City Council, including its longtime gun violence prevention leaders,Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District) and CouncilmemberKenyatta Johnson (2nd District). They were joined by Council Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker (9th District), other Council members, and community advocates.
“There are many things we need to do to address this unacceptable level of gun violence,” said Council President Clarke. “That includes focused law enforcement, better coordination among all our law enforcement partners – local, state and federal, and other violence prevention programming. But nothing can replace a more engaged and supported community-focused approach. That is why it’s critically important that Council appropriated this funding with agreement from the Kenney administration.”
“Through the Anti-Violence Community Partnership Grant Program, we’ve deepened our partnership with City Council and Philadelphia communities to address our city’s gun violence crisis,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Through this partnership, and with support of the Monitoring Board, we’ll invest in community-driven prevention work through funding and organizational supports, and help build on what’s working through evaluation. This is an important piece of the City’s historic investment in violence prevention, and we are grateful to our partners in City Council for working closely with us to make it possible.”
Council President Clarke today announced the following appointments from Council to the Violence Prevention and Opportunity Monitoring Group:
- Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. (4th District), chair of Council’s Public Safety Committee
- Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), chair of Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention
- Councilmember Cherelle Parker (9th District), Council’s Majority Leader
- Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District)
- Councilmember Cindy Bass (8th District)
The Kenney administration will staff the Monitoring Group with appointments from the following city departments: Managing Director’s Office, Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Department of Public Health, Commerce, Office of Children and Families, Dept. of Human Services, and Dept. of Behavioral Health & Disability Services.
In a joint statement last week, City Council leaders addressed the formation of the Violence Prevention & Opportunity Monitoring Group, as well as the broader approaches needed to reduce gun violence in Philadelphia.
“We have no more important priority than reducing and preventing gun violence across our city. This collaborative approach between City Council and the Kenney administration, state legislative and elected officials, community organizations, and every law enforcement stakeholder should be focused on one shared vision and goal: a safer Philadelphia.”
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