Council Funds Collaborative Effort to Prevent Neighborhood Violence
[COLUMBUS – OH] Columbus City Council is harnessing the power of collaboration to strengthen neighborhoods and keep residents safe. On Wednesday, June 6, 10:30am, at Columbus Public Health, 240 Parsons Avenue, Council announced its investment in community-based interventions designed to prevent acts of violence and provide youth with increased opportunities.
“Columbus City Council is investing in strategies to prevent violent crime without handcuffs,” said Council President Shannon Hardin.
As a part of the 2018 operating budget, City Council set aside $500,000 to prevent crime in Columbus. The funds will support work in four key areas: violence intervention, youth employment, resident empowerment and connections between residents and resources.
“A lasting solution to the violence afflicting our neighborhoods is one that addresses poverty and empowers residents to be part of the cure. The voices of our residents must be at the center of this work—not on the periphery,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Brown. “This plan is an all-hands-on-deck approach that calls on institutions, businesses and community members to enlist themselves in breaking the cycle of violence.”
The first components of the initiative to roll out are those that relate to expansion of the Applications for Purpose, Pride and Success (APPS) program.
Funding within the initiative creates two new, full-time violence intervention staff members who will work on street-level violence interruption and conflict mediation with a focus on youth. This added capacity will connect more at-risk youth to case management, summer jobs and support services in order to address the risk factors that can leave them vulnerable to gangs and negative influences within the community.
“We’re looking to engage residents, especially young folks, to help prevent violent crime through tested programs such as APPS and Cap City Nights,” said Hardin.
In 2017, the APPS intervention program defused 125 potentially violent incidents, orchestrated 83 interventions after gang-related incidents, facilitated 39 peace agreements between gangs and made 391 referrals to community resources.
The funding also expands APPS’s Cap City Nights Festival series. The summer events foster safe and healthy community relationships by bringing together neighbors, worshipers, service providers, and business owners. In addition to expanded programming at each Cap City Night Festival this summer, a new festival will occur in the West Side’s Wedgewood neighborhood.
Because APPS participants and the neighborhoods in which they reside have diverse needs, Council will launch additional components throughout the remainder of 2018. The remaining body of work will focus specifically on helping APPS alums earn private employment throughout the year, expanding access to social workers who connect residents with resources to address trauma and their basic needs and building a grassroots neighbor network that will empower residents to take back their streets.
Funding for APPS-related staff and programming represents approximately $250,000 of the $500,000 set-aside by City Council for community-based violence prevention work through the end of 2019.
City Council will appropriate funding for the Cap City Nights expansion and additional violence intervention workers at its next regular meeting on June 11, 2018.