CITY OF NEW HAVEN ANNOUNCES $750,000 INVESTMENT IN YOUTH PROGRAMMING TO PREVENT VIOLENCE
City takes a public health approach to reducing youth violence and provides funding for youth programming that is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s strategies for preventing violence among youth
(New Haven, CT) –Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. announced at a press conference today that the City of New Haven has won a $750,000 competitive grant from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch. As part of the City’s ongoing and comprehensive work to reduce violence, the funding will be used to support youth programming that is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations for preventing violence among at-risk youth. Mayor DeStefano was joined by representatives from numerous organizations that all collaborated to put together the City’s new Youth Violence Prevention grant program, including the Board of Aldermen’s Youth Services Committee, the City’s Community Services Administration, the United Way of Greater New Haven, New Haven’s state legislative delegation, the New Haven Public Schools and William Carbone from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch.
“This new initiative aims to prevent violence among youth before it even begins and is one more tactic we are employing to achieve the City’s top public safety goal: reducing violence,” stated Mayor DeStefano who discussed the other measures the City has implemented to reduce violence including Community Policing, Re-Entry Services, the Shooting Task Force, Project Longevity and Street Outreach workers.
For the Youth Violence Prevention grants, the City is focusing on three areas identified by the CDC as assisting in preventing violence among youth:
• “Pro-social” interventions and experiences that help youth develop tactics and strategies to handle difficult emotional situations without turning to violence;
• Mentorship in order to provide role models that can help guide youth behavior positively; and
• Youth job training and readiness skills (including college exposure) so that youth are exposed to opportunities and can envision positive options for their future.
The City of New Haven was awarded a total of $750,000 from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch for its Youth Violence Prevention grant program. The funding was disbursed in two rounds of funding. The first disbursement of $250,000 covers the period of time from February to June 2013; the second grant disbursement of $500,000 is in progress now, having begun in July and running through June 2014. The City, in turn, ran a competitive grant process to distribute the funding to organizations that serve New Haven youth who may have the CDC-identified risk factors for violence including living in poverty; association with delinquent peers; poor family functioning; drug, alcohol or tobacco use; poor grades in school and a prior history of violence.
“In 2012, the Board of Aldermen set a comprehensive youth and public safety agenda. This new grant program addresses both policy priorities in a new and innovative way and the process has been a great example of collaboration between the Board of Aldermen, the administration and our community partners,” said Jorge Perez, President of the Board of Aldermen.
The United Way of Greater New Haven provided guidance and expertise for the grant review process, ensuring that funded programs are well run and capable of producing desired outcomes. The Board of Aldermen’s Youth Services Committee took part in the grant review process.
“This initiative is a vital component of the Board of Alders’ Comprehensive Youth Agenda, and we were thrilled to be able to fund programs that do such extraordinary work to prevent youth violence in our communities,” noted Alderwoman Sarah Eidelson, Chair of the Youth Services Committee.
A total of 22 organizations received funding for programming that was determined to be aligned with CDC guidelines for reducing violence. Grant awards ranged from $9,780 to $50,000. Funded organizations include New Haven Family Alliance, Elephant in the Room, Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Programs, Solar Youth, LEAP, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwester Connecticut and Community Mediation, Inc.