The Patrick-Murray Administration announced that it will award Chelsea $900,000 as part of $9.7 million in funding to 11 municipalities across the Commonwealth to support efforts to reduce youth violence. As part of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, the state will provide funding to the communities with high levels of youth-related homicides, non-fatal assaults and other violence like Chelsea, Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield and Worcester.
“We need peace in urban communities,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “These initiatives will help us work more closely with local leadership and at-risk youth, to end the cycle of violence that devastates communities.”
The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative intends to bring additional services and supports to young men ages 14-24 who are likely to be perpetrators or victims of serious violence. Programs funded through these grants will directly serve about 1,000 youths in this population and will also support their family members, including children and siblings. An additional $262,000 will be used to provide trauma response training to grantees and to hire a program director to monitor the implementation of the various plans and manage the overall program.
“With this funding, we will work alongside local officials, community organizations, and a range of stakeholders in cities with our most at-risk youth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “By understanding the unique needs within each of these communities, together we will implement comprehensive plans that will engage our at-risk youth as we address violence in our neighborhoods.”
Governor Patrick launched the Commonwealth’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative earlier this year as a comprehensive violence prevention strategy to reduce homicides and serious assaults among Massachusetts youth. As part of this effort, Governor Patrick issued Executive Order 534 emphasizing the Administration’s commitment to partnering with local officials to address youth violence and filed legislation creating tougher gun laws that hold “high impact” individuals accountable.
“Building these partnerships between state and local governments will help ensure that every young person in Massachusetts has the opportunity to live a productive and happy life,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services issued a Request for Responses in July 2011 to engage in a competitive bidding process. The 11 communities selected will implement coordinated intervention strategies focused on “proven risk” youth and are intended to fill gaps in direct services currently available. Each of the municipal grantees will support a full continuum of services for young men who are most likely to be victims or perpetrators of shooting or stabbing violence and their families, including identification, street outreach and engagement, trauma counseling, employment, education and services for families.